Book Review: The Candy Shop War
By Brandon Mull
What if there were a place where you could get magical candy? Moon rocks that made you feel weightless. Jawbreakers that made you unbreakable. Or candy that gave animals temporary human intelligence and communication skills. (Imagine what your pet would say!) Four young friends, Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon, are befriended by Belinda White, the owner of a new candy shop on Main Street. However, the gray- haired, grandmotherly Mrs. White is not an ordinary candy maker. Her confections have magical side effects. Purposefully, she invites the kids on a special mission to retrieve a hidden talisman under Mt. Diablo Elementary School. However, Mrs. White is not the only magician in town in search of the ancient artifact rumored to be a fountain of youth. She is aware that Mr. Stott, the not- so- ordinary ice cream truck driver, has a few tricks of his own. (Courtesy of Goodreads.com )
Adult Point of View
I had no idea how much I would like this book. We’ve all heard the adage not to take candy from strangers. Another saying we all know is to never judge a book by its cover. Mull provides compelling reasons to follow such sage advice.
As a child I remember eating moon rocks that crackled in my mouth and walking around in moon boots (it was a popular item in the 70’s-80’s). I definitely would have wanted to eat moon rocks that would make me weightless, even if given to me from a stranger. Though I did refuse candy from the crossing guard, who I didn’t know, but she only offered regular candy so it wasn’t tempting. Nate, Summer, Trevor and Pigeon get snookered into trying Mrs. White’s candy and it ends up being a lot more trouble than they expected. The candy has dire consequences for their families and everyone in town.
Mrs. White, a sweet grandmotherly figure who makes candy. Who could be more trustworthy? Surely not Mr. Stott! Once again, the kids see that appearances can be deceiving. Now they have to figure out how to get out of the trouble they started. Mrs. White wasn’t what she seemed and has nefarious things in mind. Maybe next time they will listen to their parents’ advice.
I highly recommend this book for the tween audience. It’s fun, full of action, fast paced and has a feel good quality that much of young adult literature is missing. In fact, I like most everything written by Brandon Mull. I went to a book signing and it was going to be at least a four hour wait because the high school auditorium was full of fans. I wasn’t committed enough to stay to get a book signed, but I can tell there are a lot of people who agree that he writes books that kids love.
4 out of 5 stars
Some of my other favorite tween and early teen books include:
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George
Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda
The Secret of Sinbad’s Cave, The Natnat Adventures By Brydie Walker Bain (e-book)
Chasing Vermeer By Blue Balliett
The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
Schooled by Gordon Korman
Talking To Dragons by Patricia Wrede (This one is a little more advanced.)
The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (Also for more advanced readers.)
There are more, but that should get you started on more ideas for young readers.