Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Deborah Wiles
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Eleven-year-old Emma Alabama Lane Cake has had it. She, along with her family of bakers, move from town to town, improving each place as they go. Unfortunately, as soon as Emma starts to feel at home, it’s time to move again. While Emma likes to help her family with their business, she can’t stand the thought of moving yet again. They arrive in a new town, and Emma decides that she can’t make any more friends. Her heart will not handle making connections that will eventually break. Somehow, she must make her parents understand her need to belong somewhere. A new friend works into her life, and they scheme together to find a way to convince the Cake parents to stay. Emma and her father feel drawn to their new town, and soon realize that they have long-lost friends among the residents and a perfect, special house to call their own.
Emma and each of her five brothers are named for the cake that their parents baked when they were born. They are a close-knit family and depend on each other to be stable as their surroundings change every few months. The whimsical names add a lighthearted feeling to a topic that can otherwise feel heavy. Moving to a new city can be a difficult experience, especially for children. Leaving friends and familiarity for the unknown is daunting. The reader finds a good friend in Emma and comfort in reading about her experiences meeting new children in her new town. It is encouraging to see that the move works for her family and that she is happier than she has ever been. At the end of the book, the author includes a Cake family recipe. It is written from Emma’s point of view and gives the reader the feeling that Emma is a true friend.