November 17, 2017

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Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble by Anna Meriano | SLJ Review

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redstarMERIANO, Anna. Love Sugar Magic: A Dash of Trouble. 320p. HarperCollins/Walden Pond. Jan. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062498465.

Gr 3-6 –Amor y Azúcar Panadería (Love and Sugar Bakery) is bustling on the eve of Dia de los Muertos, and all Leonora Logroño wants to do is help. But as the youngest of five sisters, Leo is repeatedly told she is too young to participate in the family business. Leo resorts to sneaking, and discovers that Mama, Tia, and her sisters are brujas, and there is more to their baked goods than just sugar and flour. Anxious to explore her own potential abilities, Leo steals a book of magical recipes and begins experimenting, leading to various mishaps. Tradition is a prominent theme in this debut, but instead of leading to conflict, Meriano depicts a family that is open and accepting of change, while still honoring long-standing family customs. Leo, despite feeling left out, has very supportive older sisters who guide her misadventures, and ultimately, along with the elder women (even Abuela, whose ghost keeps an eye on the family), shape Leo’s magical development. Spell recipes are included in the text entirely in Spanish, which Leo, as a nonspeaker, must decipher using a bilingual dictionary. Back matter includes additional nonmagical recipes for pan de muerto and amaranth bars that should keep readers busy until the next installment in the series. VERDICT A delectable debut with wide appeal, and a must-have for middle grade fiction collections.–Jessica Agudelo, New York Public Library

This review was published in the School Library Journal November 2017 issue.

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