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As we all know from best-selling series, you can't buy magical powers—you either have them or you don't. Poppy Pendle's parents are overjoyed when, as a baby, she creates sweets out of thin air; they want to enrol her right away in the witch academy. It soon develops, though, that Poppy's passion is for baking, not spells, perhaps due to the fact that she was born in the town patisserie. Lowe's diverting first novel follows the sympathetic Poppy as she tries to convince her parents not to force her to become a witch and secretly befriends a nonwitch neighbour and the patisserie's owner. But when her parents remove the oven from their house—well, then they've gone too far. Lowe presents Poppy's turn to the dark side (she transforms her parents and other creatures in her path into stone and starts consuming junk food) as both understandable and disturbing. But of course friendship and good food win out in the end. Thirteen recipes of the story's scrumptious-sounding desserts are included. Grades 4-6. --Abby Nolan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"To her parents' great mortification, Poppy is unexpectedly born in a French bakery; she couldn't possibly have had a less auspicious birth. As she grows, though, it becomes obvious that she has the rare gift of magic, and her parents couldn't be more pleased. They purchase a state-of-the-art wand and broom and enter her in the Ruthersfield Academy for Witches. While Poppy is an excellent witch, all she really wants to do is bake. When she announces to her parents that she hates magic and just wants to make treats, her parents go to the extreme to stop her, pushing her into the blackest of magic. In this sweet story about true friendship, Poppy is a likable main character. " -- School LIbrary Journal Lowe's energetic first novel is led by 10-year-old Poppy, who was born in the Patisserie Marie Claire bakery in the town of Potts Bottom. While Poppy has inherited the gift of magic from her highly respected Great-Granny Mabel, she wants nothing to do with it. Baking makes Poppy happy, and after three years at Ruthersfield, a magic school her parents force her to attend, she is fed up. Poppy runs away to the Patisserie, where sympathetic Marie Claire takes her in, but when Poppy's parents drag her home, she snaps and turns them to stone with the "Stop It Now Spell." It's up to Marie Claire and Poppy's friend Charlie to bring Poppy back from the "dark side." Lowe makes the story's arc (and message) clear early on: the Ruthersfield motto translates to "Follow your passion," and Poppy's interest in another witch who crossed to the dark side presages her own transformation. Readers will easily empathize with Poppy and recognize the loneliness and anger that accompany being misunderstood. Several recipes for Poppy's desserts are included. Ages 8-12.