Thursday, December 29, 2011
Pie by Sarah Weeks
With everyone in town going pie-crazy, Alice soon finds herself trying to solve a mystery of who trashed her Aunt Polly's old pie shop, and who stole the cat that was left to her in Aunt Polly's will.
Pie is a quick, fun read that gets your mouth watering from the first chapter with its tantalizing descriptions of all the pies Aunt Polly made in her shop. To help the reader feed his or her sweet tooth, Sarah Weeks includes a different pie recipe at the beginning of every chapter that are integral to the story.
In fact, while I was still reading the book, upon the recommendation of Allison at Reading Everywhere, I made the quick and simple buttermilk pie that was so easy to make, it's almost unbelievable that the pie is actually low-cal!
I read Pie aloud to my sixth graders and upon return to school in January we'll be having a pie day where kids can bring in a pie that they made from the novel. When I read it to my class, they would always beg me to keep reading after I stopped, always a sign of a successful read-aloud.
However, most of us were of the same opinion that the ending was a disappointment. For me, however, the way the story ended was not nearly as disappointing as the fact that there was a loose end in the story that was never addressed, which really bothered me because I felt like it was a part of the overall mystery that needed to be solved. Even though it wasn't, I felt like it was something that needed to be addressed. I don't mean to be so vague about it, but I don't want to reveal any spoilers. If you've read the book and want to ask me what I mean, feel free to email me or message me on Goodreads.
Even though the ending was a disappointment, the rest of the story was fun and heartwarming and was even more fun to read with a group of kids. It was interesting to hear all their theories on "whodunit" and it gave the class a chance to work together in coming up with their predictions. Not to mention, the recipes included at the beginning of each chapter are easily attainable, so long as you use a pre-made pie crust (which makes sense that the book wouldn't include how to make pie crust since the whole book is about finding Aunt Polly's famous pie crust recipe).
Final verdict: Delicious descriptions but a tad lacking in the characterization and tying-up loose ends department. Still a worthwhile read despite a few frustrations.
Here is an example of one of the easy, delicious pies included in the novel:
9-inch pie tin lined with unbaked pie crust
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 & 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350. Cover unbaked pie shell with parchment paper or a coffee filter. Press down to fit and toss in a handful of dried beans. Place weighted shell in preheated oven and bake for ten minutes. Remove from oven and discard beans and parchment. Set pie crust aside.
Raise oven temp to 375. Beat eggs and sugar until light and lemony colored. Add flour and beat until well mixed. Add buttermilk, vanilla, lemon juice, lemon zest, and butter. Pour into baked pie crust and dust with nutmeg. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool before serving.
Pie by Sarah Weeks
Published: October 1, 2011 by Scholastic
Audience: Middle Grade