Flossie Crums and the Royal Spotty Dotty Cake:-by Helen Nathan

On the cover Tana Ramsay is quoted as saying that this is the “most enchanting fairy book I have ever read” and the publisher’s blurb describes the book as “perfect for children aged 4 and up”.The main story line is that a little girl called Flossie Crums is entering a baking competition. There is a subplot about fairies, who appear on every page in Daryl Stevenson’s cute illustrations. It will not spoil the reader’s sense of suspense if I give away the fact that the King of the Fairies is poorly and Flossie makes him better. I found the story line a bit thin and twee, but my wife tells me that it is pitched appropriately for four-year-old girls.

The point of the book really is that Helen Nathan, as a mother of three daughters, wants to encourage children to learn to bake, like Flossie and her brother Billie, and the cake-baking competition is simply an excuse to include seven recipes for cakes. Although they are written as if for children, ending with a list of baking tips, four-year-olds will not cope with either the recipes or the conversion table. Children capable of reading the recipes will probably have outgrown fairies. The recipes are for grown-ups, but the idea of adults and children baking together is excellent – except that the stuff left in the bowl always tastes better than the baked cakes, so why put them in the oven?

Ignore my grumbles. Children should learn how to bake, and the story may get them interested. They can also enjoy spotting the fairies.

Nathan, Helen (2011) Flossie Crums and the Royal Spotty Dotty Cake

Pavilion Children’s Books, London

ISBN 978 – 1 – 84365 – 188 – 8

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