By Wendy Mass, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99, 453 pages
In the town of Spring Haven, the most popular candies are the Oozing Crunchorama and the Neon Yellow Lightning Chew. But that is about to change. Four very lucky 12 year-olds have been invited to participate in a national candy making contest after reporting to the “Life is Sweet” factory to learn the ins and outs of making a delicious, new, and unique candy. If you enjoyed Willy Wonka, you’ll love The Candymakers by Wendy Mass.
Logan, Miles, Daisy, and Philip have different personalities and skills. Logan grew up in the factory and can identify chocolate flavors using his hands. Miles loves to read and has mysterious allergies. Daisy is overly cheerful and very strong. And Philip writes down everything in a hidden notebook. The interactions between the characters are funny and endearing. The story is told from the children’s point of view, with each chapter alternating between each kid. Mass teaches readers that every story has two sides (or four, in this case) and we can learn something from everyone we meet. Her descriptions of the candy and the factory rooms are mouthwatering. Next time you are buying candy, ask yourself, “Could I make this?”
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin