A Dash of Magic (Bliss Bakery Trilogy Series #2)

A Dash of Magic (Bliss Bakery Trilogy Series #2)

4.7 32
by Kathryn Littlewood, Erin McGuire
     
 

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The Heat Is On

Rosemary Bliss has challenged her Aunt Lily to an international baking competition in Paris: If Rose wins, Lily agrees to return the magical Cookery Booke that she stole. If Rose loses . . . well, the consequences are too ugly to think about.

Together with her long-lost grandpa, his sarcastic talking cat, and a turncoat French mouse, Rose and

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Overview

The Heat Is On

Rosemary Bliss has challenged her Aunt Lily to an international baking competition in Paris: If Rose wins, Lily agrees to return the magical Cookery Booke that she stole. If Rose loses . . . well, the consequences are too ugly to think about.

Together with her long-lost grandpa, his sarcastic talking cat, and a turncoat French mouse, Rose and her brothers race around Paris to find essential—and elusive—magical ingredients that will help her out-bake—and out-magic—her conniving aunt. She has to win or the Bliss Cookery Booke will be lost to her family forever.

This second helping in Kathryn Littlewood's Bliss series combines hilarious magic and daring adventure to make one delectable reading treat.

Editorial Reviews

Washington Post
Praise for Bliss: “Delicious and exciting.”
Wall Street Journal
Praise for Bliss: “Quite delicious and very funny.”
Boston Globe
Praise for Bliss: “Middle-grade readers who enjoy slapstick humor and fantastical adventures will get a generous helping of each here in what amounts to an impressive debut.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Praise for Bliss: “This sweet (but never syrupy) story has surprising substance and broad appeal. A humorous tone, clear, thoughtful writing, and a brisk pace will also ensure that this one is gobbled up quickly.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Praise for Bliss: “This sweet (but never syrupy) story has surprising substance and broad appeal. A humorous tone, clear, thoughtful writing, and a brisk pace will also ensure that this one is gobbled up quickly.
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Praise for Bliss: “This sweet (but never syrupy) story has surprising substance and broad appeal. A humorous tone, clear, thoughtful writing, and a brisk pace will also ensure that this one is gobbled up quickly.”
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
Second in the "Bliss" series for middle schoolers, this book chronicles the loss of the famous Bliss Cookery Booke to the hands of the Bliss family's evil Aunt Lily. It seems Aunt Lily has stolen the book to be the basis for her successful television cooking show. Rose and her family must somehow get it back, revive their bakery shop, and save the spirits of the citizens of Calamity Falls. Rose and her brother decide to publicly challenge Aunt Lily to a cook-off at the Gala des Gateaux Grands in Paris, France. The prize will be possession of the Bliss Cookery Booke. Aunt Lily agrees—after all, she has the book in her hands—and the preparation for the contest takes on a life of its own. With deft exaggeration as a comment on fame, television cooking shows and contemporary life, the story takes the Bliss family to Mexico to get Great-Great-Grandfather Belthazar who has committed the Bliss Cookery Booke to memory. In Paris, Rose competes against Aunt Lily through the various rounds of the contest. When it appears that Aunt Lily may take top prize, Rose's family and a talking cat and mouse help her to succeed. This tongue-in-cheek story, though a bit long, uses humor, magic, and a touch of absurdity to entertain young readers. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—In this sequel to Bliss (HarperCollins, 2012), Littlewood continues her frothy tale of the magical baking family as they enter a high-stakes culinary competition in Paris to win back their magic recipe book from their evil relative, Lily Le Fay. It is 12-year-old Rose and her siblings who take on the task of finding the ingredients they need, such as the wish of a ghost and the blush of a queen, as they try to outwit and outbake Lily, who has bewitched everyone with her enchanted "Magic Ingredient." Brimming with lighthearted fun, where even the gargoyles turn out to be friendly, this action-packed fantasy, celebrating the courage and ingenuity of children and the wholesomeness of simple baking, will be enjoyed most by those who have read the first book. Travel buffs will like the way the action takes place in and around Parisian tourist attractions. Characterization is light and easy, with some insight into Rose's feelings. Newcomers to the series will need some patience while they get up to speed. The ending suggests a sequel.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
In this hilarious sequel to Bliss (2012), 12-year-old Rose Bliss and her eccentric family travel to Paris, where she competes in an international pastry competition to outbake her scheming Aunt Lily Le Fey and recover the Bliss Cookery Booke. After Lily stole the Booke with its secret, special family recipes, the Bliss bakery's pies, muffins and croissants have lost their magic, leaving everyone in Calamity Falls feeling "a bit like warm lettuce." Meanwhile, Lily has a best-selling cookbook and a popular TV cooking show, and her Magical Ingredient threatens to have the "country in the palm of her hand." Determined to stop Lily, Rose challenges her in the formidable Gala des Gâteaux Grands, with the Booke as the prize. To assemble the bizarre ingredients for their unconventional recipes, Rose and her family risk their necks and encounter ghostly creatures, searching the Seine, the Louvre, the Catacombs, the Eiffel Tower, Versailles and Notre Dame. Employing unorthodox cat-and-mouse subterfuge, a desperate Rose eventually discovers she may not need magic to be the best baker if she has her family's love. Readers will savor this latest Bliss family adventure as Rose and her siblings traverse Paris trying to outmaneuver Lily and turn the baking world upside down. Spot art captures key themes. Fantastic fantastical fare. (Fantasy. 8-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062084309
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
01/07/2014
Series:
Bliss Bakery Trilogy Series, #2
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
159,132
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 6.30(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Dash of Magic

A Bliss Novel


By Kathryn Littlewood

HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright © 2013 Kathryn Littlewood
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-06-208429-3


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

The Challenge Will Be Televised


Lily balanced precariously on a pair of high-heeled shoes as she pulled a tray of steaming pumpkin muffins from the convection oven in the wall of her studio kitchen. She turned to the audience and displayed played the muffins, which looked slightly out of place in the hands of a woman wearing a short black cocktail dress and five-inch stilettos. "Have you ever seen anything more gorgeous in your life?"

Lily set the tray down on the counter top and raised both her arms. "Can you smell it, folks?"

Everyone in the audience hopped to their feet and chorused, "Cinnamon! Cinnamon! Cinnamon!"

Everyone, that is, except for Rose and Ty.

"Cheater! Cheater! Cheater!" Rose whispered to her older brother as they sank down into their back back row seats.

Lily's studio kitchen had bright yellow walls, sunny orange cabinets, and an island in the center covered with turquoise tiles. A window in the back of the kitchen opened onto a New York City skyline.

Fake, Rose thought, her fists clenched. Just like her. This studio's in Connecticut!

Rose looked out at the rows and rows of giddy audience members, at the hundreds of bright lights hanging from a grid on the ceiling above, and at the cameras, five in total. Rose tried to imagine how important Lily must feel standing in front of all those doting eyes, and the millions more watching at home. So this was the glamour that Rose had turned down when she told Aunt Lily that she wouldn't be going with her to New York. Rose knew she'd made the right decision. If she'd gone with Lily, her family would right now be sitting around the kitchen table, sensing that something was missing but with no memory that Rose or the Booke had ever existed. Rose would never be able to see them again, not even in a photograph. No amount of fame or acclaim was worth losing the love of her family. And yet, where had love gotten the Blisses?

These days the streets of Calamity Falls felt cold and gray, even in the springtime. Mrs. Havegood's fibs had become far less inventive, the League of Lady Librarians had retired their tour bus, and Mr. Bastable and Mrs. Thistle-Bastable had lost their burning passion for each other. There was no laughter, no magic. The soul of Calamity Falls had shriveled like a dead leaf, and it was all her fault.

Even Devin Stetson had lost his luster. Since Lily had stolen the book, Rose had worked up the courage to speak to Devin Stetson on five separate occasions, about two things: twice in the hallway about the difficulty of algebra, twice at the counter of Stetson's Donuts and Automotive Repair about the difficulty of algebra again, and once at the counter of the Bliss Bakery.

"How are you?" she'd said, her right eye twitching nervously, as it always did in his presence.

"Oh, fine, I guess." Devin sighed. His floppy bangs, formerly the color of spun gold, were now just pale, dull blond. "The Calamity Falls Community Chorus disbanded. No one felt like singing anymore." "I'm sorry," Rose had replied. She had wanted to reach out and touch his sullen cheek, but she was too afraid, and too guilty.

Rose sighed at the memory, and glared out at Lily. As much as Rose hated her aunt, the person she was most angry with was herself. If she had just been a little wiser, if she hadn't trusted Aunt Lily and fallen for her flattery, everyone she loved in her town would be happy and healthy. But as it stood, every time Rose traipsed down the gray streets of Calamity Falls, she was reminded of the grim mess she'd caused.

"This beard itches," Ty whined, tugging at the long, gray beard their father, Albert, had glued to his face hours before. "And the beard glue smells like a chemical-processing plant. I might pass out." Ty shifted in his white linen robe. "Why did I have to wear the skirt?"

"It'll be over soon," Rose said, patting him on the shoulder. "I'm pretty sure the Question-and-Answer portion is next."

Rose spoke as calmly as she could, but her hands were shaking. Appearing on television for the first time was nerve-racking enough, but Rose was about to appear on television for the first time and do something crazy.

"Okay, sit, sit!" Lily called. "Let's move on to Question-and-Answer. And while we do, I'm going to dig into one of these Pump-Me-Up Pumpkin Muffins — if you all don't mind. All this talk of cinnamon has me very hungry."

She winked coyly as she unwrapped the accordion of aluminum foil from the bottom half of one of the hot muffins and sank her gleaming teeth in. She wiped the corner of her mouth. There was never a crumb on Lily's lip, never a hair out of place. She was perfection. Rose knew this was her chance to strike. She raised her hand high and waved it back and forth until Lily noticed her in the back row. "You, sweet thing in the back with the blond curls!"

Ty wasn't the only one wearing a disguise. Rose had pulled back her long, black hair and pinned it under a wig of blond ringlets that Purdy had bought at the Halloween Haven in Calamity Falls. Rose was wearing a dress of pale-blue satin with poofy sleeves and an even poofier skirt that sat atop layer after layer of itchy blue crinoline.

"Are the disguises really necessary?" Rose had asked her mother before they'd left for the studio. "If I had a shepherd's staff, I would look just like Little Bo Peep."

"You'll need the disguises to ask your question," Purdy had warned her. "If Lily recognizes you, she'll never call on you."

A bearded man with a headset handed Rose a microphone as Rose stood. It took all her strength not to collapse. This was the moment of truth.

Rose raised the microphone to her trembling lips and spoke in a whisper. "Testing? Testing?" The microphone squealed with feedback.

"The microphones work!" Lily said. She was chuckling, but her eyes were narrowed. It was the same look of impatience that Rose had seen on her aunt's face those times in the Bliss Bakery kitchen, the same look that Rose had chosen to ignore.

Look where ignoring my instincts has gotten me, Rose thought. Wearing a wig on TV.

But Rose knew — and her family agreed — that this was the only way to right the wrong that had been done.

Rose cleared her throat. "I think your Pump-Me-Up Pumpkin Muffins are bland and dry," Rose said, pushing the words past the arid bubble of fear that squatted in her throat. She took a deep breath. "I could make a better pumpkin muffin."

Everyone in the audience gasped and turned to look at her.

Lily glared at Rose. Then, for just an instant, Lily's eyes went wide, and Rose knew that Lily had recognized her.

"Ha! We have a comedian in the audience!" Lily said, giggling and clapping. "That's so cute! Next question!"

Before the next person could stand, Ty bounded up from his seat and pointed a finger in the air. In his gray beard and red cloak, he looked like Santa Claus. "This young lady, whom I have never seen before and am not related to, deserves a chance to bake!"

The studio fell silent. Scattered applause fluttered up from the risers.

Rose raised the microphone once more. "I challenge you, Lily Le Fay, to compete against me in the Gala des Gâteaux Grands in Paris, France."

Rose handed the microphone back to the young man with the headset and plopped into her seat, her arms folded across her chest.

The audience gasped once more, looking back and forth between their idol and the curly-haired little girl who had just challenged her to a duel at the world's most prestigious televised pastry competition — back and forth, back and forth, like they were watching a tennis match.

Lily stood frozen in the center of her studio kitchen, wobbling on the points of her high-heeled shoes. Lily had no choice but to accept the challenge. If she didn't, it would look like she was afraid of being outdone by an adolescent.

Suddenly Lily's face transformed, her glare replaced by a sweet smile. "I accept the challenge! I will compete against this brave young thing at the Gala des Gâteaux Grands!" The audience went wild, clapping and hooting and hollering.

"What's your name, sweetheart?" Lily asked.

Rose stood and pulled off the blond wig, letting her long, black hair cascade down to her shoulders. "My name is Rosemary," she said. "Rosemary Bliss." Beside her, Ty discreetly pumped his fist. "Yes!" he said.

"Well, Rosemary Bliss." Lily spat out the name as if it were another term for a skin disease. "Just because you're little doesn't mean I'm going to go easy on you.

You know that, right?"

"Yup," Rose said defiantly. And she curtsied to her aunt Lily, who steadied herself by leaning up against the kitchen counter.

I can't believe I just did that, thought Rose.


* * *

At the end of the show, while the rest of the audience was filing out, the bearded man in the headset plucked Rose and Ty from the line. "Lily wants to see both of you," he said. "This is huge! She never wants to see anyone!

"I'm Bruno," he went on, leading Rose and Ty down a back hallway of the studio. "But Lily still doesn't know my name. She calls me Bill. But hey, she's Lily! She could call me Armpit for all I care." Rose scowled. It seemed Lily had everyone in the country wrapped around her elegant pinkie finger. At the end of the hall was a metal door painted blue, with a sign in the shape of a star that read Ms. Le Fay.

Bruno knocked quietly on the door. "I have the little girl and the old man here, Lily!"

"Oh, thanks, Bill!" she called. "Send them in!"

Bruno pulled the door open, and Rose and Ty walked into what could only be described as a palace. In the center of the room gushed a stone fountain ringed by ornate cast-iron benches. A lush forest of orchids hung from the ceiling, and flowing swaths of blue silk draped the walls.

And there, sitting in a hammock, rocking gently from side to side, was Lily. She was wearing a plush white robe, like she'd just emerged from the shower; only her perfect black hair was dry. Even in a bathrobe, she looked ready for an awards show.

"Have a seat by the fountain, Rosemary. You, too, Thyme."

Rose sat with her brother on one of the cast-iron benches and looked up at the massive fountain, which was a fifteen-foot marble statue of Lily stirring a spoon around an overflowing bowl, her neck long and elegant.

"It's so nice to see both of you again! How do you like my little dressing room?" Lily stepped out of the hammock.

"I gotta say, it's pretty sweet, Tia Lily," Ty said, looking around.

Lily perched on the edge of the fountain, folding one tanned, silky leg over the other. "Let's get down to business. Your little stunt today was reckless, to say the least. What exactly are you trying to do?"

Rose sat up straight and cleared her throat. "Losing the Gala des Gâteaux Grands would ruin you. But unlike you, I don't have a reputation to worry about. I'm twelve. So we're offering you a deal. I will lose the competition on purpose if you just give us back our Cookery Booke and stop selling Lily's Magic Ingredient."

Lily feigned surprise. "Right, the Booke! You want the Booke back. Of course. I'd forgotten all about it." "You already have a TV show, Tia Lily," said Ty. "What do you still need the Booke for? Our town is in trouble!"

Lily plucked a bit of fuzz off her white robe and flicked it into the fountain. "See, this is the problem with the Bliss family. None of you has any ambition. You're more concerned with your Podunk town than with succeeding. You think that just because I host the highest-rated daytime TV show in history and have a fifteen-foot marble statue of myself in my enchanted- forest-themed dressing room that I have 'enough.'

There is never enough!"

Lily stood and sauntered toward the brilliantly lit mirror on her makeup table. "I could have real power. I could be running the country! But I can't do it without the Booke. Or Lily's Magic Ingredient."

Ty itched under his beard. "Wow, Tia Lily. You're scary. You're like a devil-aunt. You're like ... a tia ... but you're also the Devil, El Diablo. You're like ... El Tiablo!" "So, you see, I can't give it back in exchange for you throwing the contest," said Lily as she examined her flawless cheek in the mirror, hunting for clogged pores that weren't there. "And I can't stop selling Lily's Magic Ingredient."

"But —" Rose began to protest just as two men wearing suit jackets and polo shirts burst through the door.

"There you are, you geniuses!" said the shorter of the two. The taller one was studying the screen on his cell phone.

"My name is Joel," said the short one. "I'm one of the producers of Lily's 30-Minute Magic. This is our other producer, Kyle."

The taller man looked up from his cell phone for a moment and nodded, then looked back down. Joel shook Rose's hand. "You were fabulous today," he said enthusiastically. "I thought maybe Kyle had arranged your showdown with Lily as a birthday present to me, but he was as surprised as I was!" Rose gave a confused half smile.

"Anyway, we can't wait for this year's Gala des Gâteaux Grands," Joel said. "Could a twelve-year-old girl possibly beat Lily Le Fay, the world's most famous baker? It's genius! Everyone in the universe will be tuning in to watch! And that includes aliens!

"We'll get all the contracts ironed out later," Joel went on. "For now, just know that you've made us very happy producers. Kisses!" he said, kissing the air on either side of Rose's cheek.

"Bye," muttered Kyle.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from A Dash of Magic by Kathryn Littlewood. Copyright © 2013 by Kathryn Littlewood. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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