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About the Author
Dan Elish is the insanely gifted author of many novels for both adults and children, including The Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks, 13 (based on the Broadway musical), and The Worldwide Dessert Contest.
When he's not busy typing furiously away on his Lap-Top (not a Gum-Top or a Hat-Top or even a Balloon-Top), you can find Dan in New York City, where he lives with his wife, Andrea, and daughter, Cassie, and son, John.
The first time I heard of this book was when Dan Elish visited my fourth grade class and read part of it aloud to us. I fell in love and finished the book myself. Ever since then I have tried to read it at least once a year, searching for it in any and all libraries!! It is a phenomenal book that captivates the imagination, no matter what your age. I am 17 and still don't tire of the adventures of John and Stanley!!
I first read this book is 4th grade. I stayed up until midnight reading, and then started again the next morning and didn't stop until I finished. I read it again in 5th, 6th, and I plan to read it again this year in 7th grade. Not only is is the book hilarious, but is has lots of interresting rhymes, one of which I liked so much I memorized all four pages of. If your reading this your probably thinking of buying the book; hurry up and buy it so you can read this thriling, amazing book!!!!!
This book is the literary version of comfort food. Reading this is like eating a slice of apple pie or a warm chocolate chip cookie or a banana muffin or a chocolate cupcake or whatever your preferred dessert of choice is. And I would recommend having that dessert on hand while you read this book, because all the descriptions of pastries will make your mouth water.
The story follows a bumbling hero and his kid sidekick as they compete in the titular Worldwide Dessert Contest. Throw in a mustachioed villain, an exiled mentor who speaks only in rhymes, and endless descriptions of what are sure to be scrumptious desserts, and you have a real winner. I discovered this book when I was 8 years old, and 15 years later, my love for it only continues to grow. This book is truly something magical, and it's probably no surprise that I now have an obsession with both baking and apples.
There are only two faults to this book: first, that it's not more well known; second, that there's no accompanying cookbook to go along with it.
This book should be placed alongside Willie Wonka, James and the Giant Peach, and Phantom Tollbooth. Not only does Mr. Elish know how to tell a good yarn, he is clearly a craftsman. There are passages in the book that are lyrical. If you want something that will keep the kids entertained, and might actually teach them a thing or two, this is the book for you. Don't miss it!
This was a story about sticking to your dreams no matter what obstacles might be in your way. John Applefeller had plenty of obstacles. His apple desserts kept turning into other things like apple french toast became knee pads used by the Olympics teams, his apple souffle became a hot air balloon, and his apple pancake became a great trampoline. He has come in last at the Worldwide Dessert Contest ten years in a row. Only his belief in the importance of desserts and the support of his young friend Stanley keep him going. Oh, and he would also like to win the Silver Spoon trophy.
All of the characters were quirky from the judge who invented sugars and could identify the sugars in each dessert with just a taste to the judge who had one of Applefeller's failures - a caramel apple that turned to a glue - stuck to his face (which, by the way, I found really disturbing because of my personal horror at having things stuck to me).
The villain of the piece is Sylvester S. Sweet who had an ego that will not quit and a very shifty nature. He has won the contest ten years in a row with a dessert called double-chocolate-fudge-raspberry-coconut-lime swirl. No one knows that he stole the recipe from Captain B. Rollie Ragoon.
Even Applefeller's supporters were quirky. Josiah Benson, the janitor at the apple festival, used a huge variety of weird metaphors and similes like
"Well, cover me with lettuce and throw me to the rabbits!" Benson exclaimed, pulling on his beard with short frantic tugs. "It's beautiful! As beautiful as a flock of skippin' horsetoads!"
Applefeller's other main supporter Captain B. Rollie Ragoon took his dessert making genius to the island of Iambia and now he only speaks in rhyme. The only characters in the book who even approach normal are Applefeller and his young companion Stanley.
This was a over-the-top silly story that reminded me of Roald Dahl at his quirkiest. I had a chance to read this multimedia edition which was enhanced by songs from the musical that the author wrote. The songs were cute and did enhance the experience. I recommend this one for fans of "silly" and for those who like Roald Dahl.