School Library Journal's Top 100 Children Novels #93
Genre: Juvenile Fiction (8 and Up); Historical Fiction
The Recipe: When Maia's parents die, she must move from England to live with her distant relatives who live on a rubber plantation in the Amazon. Maia is excited about the exotic scenery and adventure she might have, but no one warned her about her nasty cousins, self-absorbed uncle, and conniving aunt. Along with her no-nonsense governess, Miss Minton, Maia finds herself in the middle of adventure involving a a mysterious Indian boy in hiding, a homesick child actor, and a missing heir to a great inheritance.
The Frosting and Sprinkles: Journey to the River Sea, despite some flaws, was an enjoyable read.
Maia is a character who is easy to like. She is popular, but humble, sweet, and talented, but she also has several flaws- she fears people, doesn't stick up for herself, and hides. Some may find those flaws annoying, but I totally relate! Despite her fear of people, she is intelligent, resourceful, and deeply cares about others.
Finn and Miss Minton are also very likeable characters. Maia and Finn's friendship is natural and sweet. Miss Minton makes up in boldness where Maia lacks.
Ibbotson is a good story-teller and I never found myself bored. Her descriptions make the Amazon seem like a character in itself. She made me care about the characters.
The book challenges children to think about racism and cultural elitism.
The Hair That Fell Into the Batter: Though I enjoyed the book overall, it contained some flaws. The Carters are super annoying characters, as they are supposed to be, but they are such nincompoops, it is hard to really view them as villains.
Clovis, another important minor character, is incredibly whiny and annoying. I wanted Maia to dump him into the river so he'd grow a pair and get over himself.
Character development was lacking. The events and land did not make much of an impact on the characters, with the exception of Miss Minton.
There were three main conflicts in the novel, but the first was the biggest and then the story kind of fizzles out. The last resolution didn't make any sense. Without giving anything away, I can basically say the resolution consisted of one character, whose refusal to do something caused the conflict, all of a sudden just changes his mind. I found it lazy writing.
The book was also pretty predictable. I guessed right away all the things I think were supposed to be plot surprises.
3 Out 5 Cupcakes!
(I liked it)