by Sarah Weeks (2011)
An Intermediate and Middle School selection.
To my faithful readers,
because a book is like a pie –
the only thing more satisfying than cooking up the story
is knowing that somebody might be out there
eating it up with a spoon.
This epigraph is an invitation by Sarah Weeks to relish all the tasty morsel moments in PIE. And there are plenty!
PIE is an enticing choice for a schoolwide reading program because Sarah Weeks immerses readers into a baker’s kitchen. She brings the aroma and process of pie-making into every home and every classroom. And the story is so much fun that – like pie – everyone will want more!
Readers first meet Polly Portman, the award-winning pie wizard who manages to give away all her pies for free. Her pie shop, aptly named PIE, becomes the hub of activity in Ipswitch, Pennsylvania. She cooks with her heart. She impacts everyone in her community in a positive way, delighting their taste buds and lightening their hearts. Especially her beloved niece Alice, a constant in the pie shop, and the real protagonist of PIE. Polly dies in the first few pages, yet she never really leaves the story because of the mysteries that follow from the reading of her will.
The plot intertwines an appreciation for cooking with small town living in the 1950s. PIE is a challenging whodunit in which readers will work with Alice and her friend Charlie to deduce the backstory. They’ll explore love, misunderstandings, long-held sibling jealousies, a grumpy cat, bike troubles, kidnapping, mistaken identities, competition, and plenty of piping hot pies and pie recipes. These are the detailed delights that carry readers and families until they arrive at Polly Portman’s wisdom and lessons. Reading PIE can be as enriching and fortifying as eating one of Polly’s luscious pies!
Sarah Weeks’s story may be especially enjoyed by those who love tasting foods and baking sweets. But her story includes messages and lessons about doing what you love, having a kind soul, looking out for others, being true to yourself, volunteering your time for worthy projects, challenging yourself with creative enterprises throughout life, and the downfalls of jealousy – messages and lessons valuable for every student, every family, every classroom, every school.
And thus Polly Portman’s pies – and Sarah Weeks’s PIE – exemplify the essence of reading aloud together, sharing delectable messages that children and families can appreciate.