When Polly, the beloved Pie Queen of Ipswitch, dies, leaving a will that inexplicably bequeaths her secret piecrust recipe to her cat, it's up to her young niece, Alice, and her best friend, Charlie, to locate the missing recipe and help the town recover from the loss of Polly. This charming tale translates well to audio, with its lighthearted mystery and quirky cast of smalltown characters. Narrator Kate Rudd delivers a well-paced, entertaining performance and provides all the book's characters with unique voices. However, Rudd shines brightest when depicting the emotional growth of Alice's mother, who is initially bitter and resentful about the attention Polly received for her pies, but grows to learn that her daughter is a priceless treasure who should be appreciated and loved. Ages 9-12. A Scholastic hardcover. (Oct.)[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC
Gr 4-6--Alice's aunt, Polly Portman, has been making pies for years, and everyone in Ipswitch, Pensylvania, loves Polly and her pies. When she dies unexpectedly, Alice is left with an empty spot in her heart and a mystery. What has happened to Aunt Polly's secret pie crust recipe, and who has been going to great lengths to find it? Polly teams up with her neighbor, Charlie, to try to find the answers, and along the way learns to deal with her mother's bitterness and her own loss. Set in the 1940s, Sarah Weeks's novel (Scholastic, 2011) is an engaging look into small town life and is populated with interesting and familiar characters. In addition to Alice and her family, there's the ambitious mayor's wife, the skeptical police chief, the domineering principal, and the kindly pastor. Narrator Kate Rudd varies her accent, rhythm, and emphasis to successfully suggest the different characters' ages, gender, and personalities. The pie recipes at the end of each chapter are an added bonus, and Rudd reads them slowly and clearly. This story begs a comparison with Polly Horvath's Everything on a Waffle, (Farrar, Strauss, 2001; Listening Library, 2001). Listeners will enjoy the mystery and humor of this gentle story.--Donna Cardon, Provo City Library[Page 83]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.