________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 20 . . . . January 27, 2012


Miss Wondergemís Dreadfully Dreadful Pie.

Valerie Sherrard. Illustrated by Wendy J. Wittingham.
St. Johnís, NL: Tuckamore Books/Creative Book Publishing, 2011.
32 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-897174-81-4.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Meredith Cleversey.

***½ /4



When all of their orders were eagerly placed,
(Which didnít take long, for they spoke with great haste)
Miss Wondergem sighed and she shook her small head,
She wrung her wee hands and her tiny voice said:

ďIím sorry. I have neither sprinkles nor dates,
No cookies or brownies to heap upon plates.
I only make pies. Pies are all I can make.
I missed a few classes when I learned to bake.Ē

The McGrew children hate their motherís cooking, and so, when a new bakery opens in town, they are delighted to go and enjoy some tasty treats. When they arrive at the bakery, however, they learn that the new baker, Miss Wondergem, only knows how to make pies, and her ingredient list includes things like bat spit and bug noses. The children are disgusted by her baking, but a curious thing happens once they return home.

internal art       Miss Wondergemís Dreadfully Dreadful Pie is a cute little story about putting things into proper perspective. The story, told in simple, rhyming verse, details the childrenís dislike for their motherís cooking and the dreams they have for what theyíd like to eat. Miss Wondergemís appearance seems like a wish come true, especially with the magical way her bakery is announced via a floating balloon with a message written in gold. It is an interesting turn to see that Miss Wondergem cannot really bake at all, or at least cannot bake anything the children would ever want to eat, since this is not the outcome the reader is expecting. It is amusing to see the childrenís change of heart towards their motherís cooking in the end as well, even though the book does not suggest that her food has gotten any better.

      The text of this story, written by Valerie Sherrard, is quite fun. The rhyming scheme throughout the book is simple, and it flows easily from one page to the next, making this an excellent story to read aloud. The illustrations by Wendy J. Whittingham are also very playful. Since the story is told through short rhyming lines, the illustrations are important to fill in extra details of the tale for the reader, and Whittingham is successful at this task. The physical appearance of Miss Wondergem, for instance, is not described in much detail in the text, but the illustrations show a cute old lady with a quirky hairstyle using a pie roller as an accessory. The illustrations and the text work well together in this story, both accenting the light-hearted feel of the tale.

      Miss Wondergemís Dreadfully Dreadful Pie is a fun story about learning to like what you already have. The text and illustrations work well together to create a lighthearted and playful story that has a delightfully unexpected and ghoulish twist to it. Readers will enjoy following the McGrew children through their terrible experiences with food, and they will have fun seeing what happens to not only the children in the end, but to Miss Wondergem as well.

Highly Recommended.

Meredith Cleversey, a librarian who lives in Cambridge, ON, loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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