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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Dylan loves to visit the local bakery and enjoy their fresh, tasty cupcakes. One day, when trying a new flavor, he breaks out into hives and suffers from a scratchy throat. A visit to the doctor confirms that Dylan has an allergy to tree nuts. No more bakery-baked cupcakes. But Dylan’s not a quitter. If he can’t eat the bakery-baked cupcakes, he’ll make his own. The first attempt is disappointing, in spite of the effort and the mess he made along the way. But, when the teacher announces a special class party and invites everyone to bring a treat to share, Dylan takes up the challenge of creating a cupcake that everyone in his class can enjoy, even those with multiple food allergies, like dairy, soy, flour, and tree nuts like Dylan.
There are a lot of food allergies affecting people today and the challenge to eat safely is growing for many. Children find it difficult to comprehend the severity of food allergies, even when they’re dealing with the allergies themselves. Rebecca Greene’s picture book story, My Perfect Cupcake: A Recipe for Thriving with Food Allergies, is a clever way to introduce food allergies to young readers and help them cope with their allergies or make sure things are safe for their friends who might have allergies. The plot follows Dylan’s discovery of his allergy through to his determination to find a safe alternative to his favorite food: cupcakes.
The story is told in simple language so young readers can follow along and some of the keywords are highlighted in different fonts and colors. The illustrations are bright and colorful and help add to the humor of some of Dylan’s kitchen experiments (poor Mom who has to clean up). The book concludes with an allergy-safe cupcake recipe and some interactive questions to share with young readers to help them be more aware of food allergies, not just for themselves but for those around them as well. A great resource as well as an entertaining read.