bake sale by sara varon

From the 2013-14 Bluebonnet Master List: one of two graphic novels that are up for the Texas state award for middle-grade fiction.

Has anyone besides me noticed that “graphic novels” are on the rise? What are graphic novels? Comic books on steroids, as far as I can tell. Except they’re not all super-hero-y or anime. Like this one. Bake Sale is a sweet story about true friendship. It’s about sacrificing something you really want because it’s the right thing to do for a friend.

What did I like best about Bake Sale? I liked the realism. When the cupcake had to give up something he’d worked for months to obtain, he gave it up to enable his friend to do something they were supposed to do together. He fell into a funk afterwards (understandably). And then got himself out of it. I believe that is the reason this book is on the Bluebonnet list for next school year. I can’t imagine why else.

What did I find most confusing? That a pink cupcake with a cherry hat is a male baker. Don’t ask me why, I can’t answer you. Seems like gender confusion, but perhaps Sara Varon is trying to break down stereotypical gender colorization. No clue.

What did I like the least? The story just stops. It’s not a cliff-hanger, it just ends abruptly. So abruptly that both my daughter and I were flipping pages trying to figure out if we missed something (and we didn’t even read it together).

Bake Sale is popular with the kids. It is one of the first ones they grab off the shelf at the library. Will it win the Bluebonnet Award? Only time will tell…

Have you read any graphic novels? Which one? Thumps up or thumbs down?

3 thoughts on “bake sale by sara varon

  1. I love graphic novels, though I’ve mostly only read the “imported from Japan & translated” ones. Manga, to those in the know. Done by a talented artist, I think the stories they convey can be very powerful and just as good a read as a normal book. I haven’t heard of this Bake Sale series, though. I don’t read them as much as I used to – some of the series get insanely long. But I’ve debating doing “Manga Monday” reviews on my blog.

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  2. Oooh. Manga Monday sounds fun! What is your favorite one/series? I haven’t read any…

    My post on Thursday is another graphic novel series – Zita the Spacegirl. Those I really enjoy.

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    1. Hmm, I’ve got several favorites depending on my mood. 😉 But they are all more geared to high school/YA level rather than middle grade. And I mostly read Shojo – which is a “genre” title given to manga aimed at the female audience.

      The one I reread the most lately is Ouran High School Host Club. It’s insane and wacky but as the series progresses develops a lot of heart and depth. I like the way it explores family, friendship, compassion, empathy, etc. There’s been an anime and a live-action tv drama/movie both of which really captured the heart of the story.

      I also love the insanely popular Fruits Basket. Like Ouran, it really dives into relationships and basic human needs – the desire to be accepted & loved for ourselves, the way we always see someone else’s talents but often overlook our own, how different people deal with regrets and mistakes. It’s quite a bit darker than Ouran at times. Very introspective and thoughtful, with a heavy dose of Japanese mythology forming the underlying foundation of the story. The anime is okay but not nearly as good. It also only covers the first few books and changes several significant details. (and is significantly lighter in tone)

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