Date Published: October 2011
Author: Sarah Weeks
1941, in Ipswitch, Pennsylvania, a woman named Polly with a gift for making pies opens up her own pie shop. As soon as she opened up, she was almost instantly famous. Her pies were so good, people from all over the world came to try them. In 1945, her niece Alice Anderson was born. Alice helped Polly bake pies, and spent a lot of time with her in the pie shop, which was also Polly's home. Alice loved her aunt very much. So when in 1955 her aunt Polly died unexpectedly, Alice was devastated. Especially after she hears that her aunt Polly left her world-famous piecrust recipe to her enormously fat and mean cat, Lardo, who was to be left in the care of Alice.
Now, with Polly gone, the whole town of Ipswitch is rushing to bake pies, hoping that theirs will win the Blueberry Award, including Alice's jealous mother Ruth. But the Alice's mother's chocolate cream pie is stolen, the pie shop is ransacked, and Lardo goes missing! Ten-year-old Alice and her friend Charlie must try to find Polly's pie recipe, and figure out what in the world is going on!
Alice Anderson: A clever and imaginative young girl with a gift for songwriting, and a love for peach pie. When her aunt Polly dies, Alice feels like she will never be happy again. Alice thinks that everything she does disappoints her mother. She is best friends with Charlie.
Charlie Erdling: Alice's tall, red-headed best friend. Charlie is a delivery boy. He helps Alice find ways to get over her aunt Polly, and he assists her on her case. Charlie is shown to be a horrible speller when Alice reads his shopping list for his deliveries. Throughout the story he frequently says; "Good Gravy!" when something excites him.
Polly Portman: Polly was The Pie Queen of Ipswitch. She owns a pie shop, and has a wonderful gift for making pies. She gives away pies for free, stating that the happiness and pleasure she gets from making the pies is enough. She loves her cat named Lardo, she won thirteen Blueberry awards in a row. When Polly died, the whole town of Ipswitch was devastated. It is not clear why she died.
Ruth Anderson: Alice's jealous mother who has a beautiful voice and is terrible at making pies. She envies her sister Polly Portman greatly. Ruth is constantly annoyed with Alice, and thinks that Alice loved Polly more than she loves her. She does not like Lardo.
George Anderson: Alice's newspaper-addict father. He is allergic to Lardo, always sneezing when he walks (or rather drags) by. He is always listening to his wife's complaining, and he is constantly saying to Alice; "Don't sass your mother." Although, George does agrees with Alice on a lot of subjects, such as her mother's poor baking skills.
Lardo: The white, obese, and mean cat given to Alice in Polly Portman's will. He doesn't like anybody but Polly, and will screech at them if they get too close. When he walks, his belly drags on the ground, slowing him down a bit. When Polly first found him, he was a hungry, dirty stray. After a diet of cream and other "unhealthy" baking ingredients, Lardo became fat. At first Polly thought he was a tabby cat, but after risking her life to wash him, she soon realized he was white, and named him after the only white thing a pie-maker could think of. Lard.
Lard is pig fat.
I LOVED this book. YOU HAVE TO READ THIS! This book was a mixture of drama, mystery, and just plain old humor! I'd recommend this book for kids aged 9-12. (Just so you know, I'm eleven.)