A little bit of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with a dash of Homer Price's donut maker, this novel pays homage to the longstanding rapport between children and sweets. John Apple longs to win the Worldwide Dessert Contest, but all his delicious desserts have a penchant for changing into something else at the last minute. The way he overcomes this difficulty and takes first place involves a search for the greatest chef in the world, the defeat of the thieving title-holder of the contest and a run-in with a judge who has, thanks to John, a caramel apple bonded to his cheek from their last encounter. Elish writes with a sure hand of this sugary world, his tongue squarely in the area of his sweet tooth. For his ability to praise desserts in an endlessly original fashion, he deserves a blue ribbon. A Richard Jackson Book. Ages 9-11. (May)
Gr 4-6 John Applefeller's Aunt Harriet always used to say, ``The importance of desserts must never be underestimated.'' And that's why John is tryingfor the 11th timeto win the Silver Spoon Award in the Appleton Dessert Contest. When his apple pancake turns into a trampoline, after the previous year's apple mousse became cement and his apple French toast changed into knee pads, John knows that he needs help. He goes to Iambia to seek the great, rhyming dessert chef Ragoon. This funny, slapstick adventure skirts close to silliness on occasion, yet wild desserts such as roller skating apple pies, rhyming citizens, and despicable villain Sylvester Sweet should keep youngsters happily entertained. This should be a great read-aloud. Pam Spencer, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax County, Va.