Leonora Logrono’s family owns the most beloved bakery in Rose Hill, Texas, spending their days conjuring delicious cookies and cakes for any occasion. And no occasion is more important than the annual Dia de los Muertos festival.
Leo hopes that this might be the year that she gets to help prepare for the big celebration-but, once again, she is told she’s too young. Sneaking out of school and down to the bakery, she discovers that her mother, aunt, and four older sisters have in fact been keeping a big secret: they’re brujas-witches of Mexican ancestry- who pour a little bit of sweet magic into everything that they bake.
Leo knows that she has magical ability as well and is more determined than ever to join the family business-even if she can’t let her mama and hermanas know about it yet.
And when her best friend, Caroline, has a problem that needs solving, Leo has the perfect opportunity to try out her craft. It’s just one little spell, after all…what could possible go wrong?
Genre: YA fiction/fantasy
Age appropriate: 9+
Number of Pages: 336
Date of Publication: 02/01/2019
This lovely book has been written by Anna Meriano who grew up in Houston, Texas. It was published by HarperCollins Publishers Inc.
A funny and heart-warming story for older children about Leonora who is an eleven-year-old girl and who discovers that her family hides a secret. They are all brujas (witches) and they all work at ‘Amor y Azucar Panaderia’ (Love and sugar bakery). Everyone is trying to work hard to get ready for ‘El dia de los Muertos Festival’ where altars are placed by families in memory of their love ones and it’s during this preparation that Leo sees things that she shouldn’t have.
Once that Leo discovers that she is a bruja she can’t wait to learn how to bake and practice her magic but must do this without her family knowing. Despite being careful her sisters gradually start to suspected her. The main event of the story is that Leo tries to help her friend Caroline but her plan doesn’t turn out as it was supposed to and then everything gets complicated.
Friendship and family are very strong themes of the story. The family dynamic is just so warm and sweet and I love how they all help each other. There is also lessons about friendship and how important this is to Leo and her family. Everything about the traditions is well described and accurate. It definitely made me want to be part of the story and to spend time in this amazing world.
This is a light hearted, fun and sweet story and I absolutely love how this book was able to keep the authenticity of the ‘dia de los muertos’ culture and traditions and how throughout the book there were Spanish words and how all of the spells and recipes were in Spanish. This book contains so many elements that you think about when imagining magic but with a unique twist. There is a book of magic (a recipe book), a black cat (a nosy one) candles, spells and more. The whole idea about magic being performed through baking is just so clever and fun.
This book is just perfect for this time of year for all middle grade readers. The language is simple and although as I mentioned before it does contain Spanish words this makes the book more interesting and meaningful and not speaking Spanish won’t affect the enjoyment. The ‘Day of the Dead’ festival is a very important tradition in Mexico which children would enjoy knowing and learning more about.
This story made me feel happy and reminded me of my childhood in Mexico with a nice cup of hot chocolate and a nice sweet bread while being in the company of my family. The ‘Pan de los muertos’ (Mexican Day of the Dead Bread) that is in the photo was made by a Mexican friend who lives in Edinburgh and which my boys absolutely loved eating.
This is the first book in ‘A Dash of Trouble’ series and I will definitely be getting the rest of them.
Availability: The book is available in all Good Bookshops although you might have to order it online.