Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

It's Raining Cupcakes

It's Raining Cupcakes

Lisa Schroeder
For ages 9 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2010   ISBN: 978-1416990840

More than anything else in the world, Isabel wants to travel. She has never been on a plane. She has never even left her home state of Oregon. She has lived in the little town of Willow her whole life, and all she wants to do is to leave it as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, that dream has suddenly become more distant than ever because Isabel’s mother is going to open up a cupcake shop. The ties that bind Isabel to Willow have tightened their hold, and she feels trapped.

Isabel wouldn’t feel so bad about the cupcake shop if her mother was happy about her new adventure. Instead, as the opening date approaches, Isabel’s mother becomes more and more withdrawn, and more and more determined that the shop is going to fail. Isabel’s mother has always been unhappy about her various jobs. Surely, now that she has chosen to do something that she loves (to bake) she should be happy. No such luck.

When Isabel’s friend Sophie tells her about a baking contest, Isabel decides to enter. The finalists will get to go to New York City, and the grand prize is a thousand dollars. Isabel certainly has nothing to lose by trying. The only problem is that Isabel knows that her mother will want her to bake a cupcake. What if she wants to bake something else? Does she always have to do what her mother wants? What about what she, Isabel, wants?

In this thoughtfully written midgrade novel, Lisa Schroeder explores a young girl’s relationship with her mother in a sensitive way. It is easy to be angry with a situation that is difficult, painful and uncomfortable, but what about trying to find a way to improve that situation?