by Jessica Young
Illustrated by Jessica Secheret
Picture Window Books
Finley's best friend Henry is about to turn nine, and Finley has a major problem: she has no idea what to give him for his birthday. He already owns all of her best creations! The school cook-off might be the perfect solution. The grand prize is a year's worth of Flying Pie Pizza ― Henry's favorite. But coming up with something original and tasty is harder than it looks. As one crazy concoction leads to another, Finley discovers that cooking is just like the rest of life ― things don't always turn out as planned and friendship is the real prize.
This book is simply fun to read! Finley is a girl full of spunk, determination and ideas. She wants to do something special for her best friend's birthday and goes all out. I found this inspiring, and her ideas humorous as well as adventurous.
The story is broken down into chapters, making it easy for kids to take breaks. The lovely illustrations in between are a real treat and add a nice touch to the entire thing. I, personally, find the length a bit heavy for early readers and was glad to see that things were broken down a bit. Still, this isn't something to throw at reluctant word fans.
There are two recipes introduced into the story, which if nothing else, will inspire kids to maybe try cooking something on their own--so parents watch out for your kitchens! These sort of inspirations are always wonderful and a delightful chance for kids to try something new and possibly find a new hobby or two.
Summed up, this is a nice read, which is sure to make kids smile. The character is unforgettable and full of life. Although I wouldn't recommend this to reluctant readers or those really just starting out, it's a great read for those ready to attack words or slightly older kids (more on the age 8 end of things). I'm sure readers will enjoy diving into the rest of the series as well.