As is tradition in my family, we read Cranberry Thanksgiving, a delightful and funny book. As featured in a previous post Harry and Wende Devlin created a whole series of Holiday books, each featuring a recipe that was relatable to the book. This book features Grandmother's Famous Cranberry Bread. So for Thanksgiving and my book review I give you:
Grandmother’s Famous Cranberry Bread
- 2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
- 1 c. sugar
- 1.5 t. baking powder
- 1 t. salt
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 1/4 c. butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 t. grated orange peel (optional)
- 3/4 c. orange juice
- 1.5 c. light raisins (optional)
- 1.5 c. fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice all at once; stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins and cranberries.
Spoon into a greased 9×5.3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.
If you choose, you may substitute cranberries to have an all cranberry bread.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone”
|“It was on my fifth birthday that Papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'Remember, my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm.'”|
“Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle.”
“You must learn from the mistakes of others.”
What works so well? H. M. Hoover uses strong character relationships to carry the story. The relationship of a young boy and girl and their friendship, though no romance here, these books are strictly preteen. She chronicles how they both grow up substantially through their adventure, learning what their old lives have to offer and how to take responsibility for bringing about a better future. But there's also an exciting adventure tale of kidnap and escape that any young person can identify with and enjoy. Hoover's futuristic universe has familiar elements and dangers of our own, but the settings are imaginative and exotic-providing readers with new worlds to explore. There are too many stories I've read where the young heroes feel passive or talked down to, or the entire universe seems to be populated with well-meaning adults. Hoover does not allow this to happen. There are villains and self-interested adults. There are helpful criminals and angry bullies who have painful secrets. Nobody is all good or bad, and getting back home isn't an easy business for it takes a good deal of ingenuity and courage. It's a formula that will appeal to many young readers.
BUT - and this is a significant but - it's still fun to read anyway. There are plenty of original elements to make up for the borrowed stuff, and the book has a light, fun tone which makes it a good-natured and enjoyable read. At one point there is an obviously deliberate nod to JKRowling - the hero comes across someone reading a book 'with a wizard on the cover', which appears to be thoroughly engrossing. So go ahead and read the book. It's fun, some of the jokes are laugh-out-loud funny, and the pacing is nicely brisk.
This book is an example of the fact that ideas which aren't 100% original can still be fun. Percy Jackson, isn't strikingly original but is still compulsively enjoyable reading.