Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Tara Dairman
Publisher: Puffin Books
Gladys Gatsby loves to cook, but her parents want her to stop after she almost burns down her kitchen with a blowtorch trying to make creme brulee. Her parents forbid her to cook or read about cooking and instead to play outside and make friends—things that don't sound appealing at all to Gladys. When a mix-up with a school assignment gets her a job as a food critic, that is if she can get to the restaurant and submit a review good enough to convince the newspaper that she can do the task, she makes friends with people she never expected to associate with and works hard to convince her parents why she loves food and to accomplish her goals.
Some of the events of the story are unrealistic, and a few of the characters are more like caricatures of the role they are in, but Gladys is charming and her determination to achieve her goals is admirable. Gladys is timid on the outside, but the passion for food hiding inside of her and her enthusiasm is contagious to both other characters and the reader. Seeing involved, caring parents and teachers in the book is also a wonderful aspect of the story. Foodies in particular will enjoy reading the food descriptions and about how Gladys approaches the food world. This book is adorable and will make readers both smile and head to the kitchen to eat some food after the beautiful descriptions of the food that Gladys cooks and eats.