ARC Review: The Adventures of Miss Petitfour by Anne Michaels

You know, if I’d read this book as a kid, I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much as I actually do now as a “grown kid” (hah!). That said, clearly this book is geared toward children–albeit little someones older than six.


THE ADVENTURES OF MISS PETITFOUR

by Anne Michaels, illustrations by Emma Block
Tundra Books, November 2015
Children’s literature
Rated: cookieratingcookieratingcookierating / 5 cookies
provided by NetGalley

petitfourMiss Petitfour is an expert at baking and eating little cakes. She also has the most marvelous, everyday adventures. Her favorite mode of travel is by tablecloth, and on windy days she always takes her sixteen cats out for an airing.

Join Miss Petitfour and her feline companions as they embark on five magical outings, including a quest for “birthday cheddar” and a visit to the village’s annual Festooning Festival.

And if you prefer books in which nothing ever happens, books in which people (and cats) sit by the fire with buttery shortbread biscuits and steaming mugs of cocoa, books full of interesting facts that will never come in useful, and books with digressions and meanwhiles and long words and lists, then you will find plenty of that here too.

So fetch a tablecloth and turn to the first page of this book. “Sometimes, all you must do is reach out your hand for something wonderful to happen . . . ”

Gifly Thoughts

The way many readers so far have described The Adventures of Miss Petitfour is that it is the love child of this:

And this:

And occasionally, someone has mentioned this as being the book’s doting aunt:

I kind of agree. The book is reminiscent of all three works, which is a good thing because I adored these books when I was young. Only Miss Petitfour is unique enough that she not only flies, but she takes all her frelling 16 cats with her. I don’t even want to think about trying to name their names. I pretty much only remember three of them for some inane reason.

The set of short stories has a lot of wordplay, and often I found myself chuckling at the use of long words and the blatant abuse of digression (both the word and the act of). I like Miss Petitfour and her antics, and Mr. Coneybeare and his antics, and all the sixteen cats and their antics.

The illustrations were what worked best for me, I kind of wished there were more littering the stories. Miss Petitfour’s adventures could have easily been split up into separate books held along by the illustrations, but that’s probably just me wanting to see more visual aspect to the stories. Also, I found there to be little baking going on and more flying. But I suppose this is so because these are Miss Petitfour’s adventures.

3 out of 5 cookies!

(Digression: Somebody went out of their way to illustrate a darker-themed version of Amelia Bedelia and I’m not sure whether to cry from ruined images of a childhood classic or laugh because it’s Amelia Friggin’ Bedelia and she’d probably do these things given the chance. WARNING, don’t click on that link if you don’t want your childhood ruined and/or do not abide crass humor.)


Miss Petitfour Isn’t Miss Petitfour Without Petit Fours

Right. As I mentioned before, I liked Miss Petitfour because she was a crazy cat-lady baker who took a great deal of time playing with words like “putting the cats out to air” and so on. I did find that of the several stories in the book, there may have been only one instance where she actually did any baking. It would have been fun to have seen her do petit fours!

So instead I tried my hand on my own set.

My sister had baked cake for Father’s Day last weekend, and since there was still cake lying around, I decided I’d make some of them into petit fours to save me work from doing new stuff. In any case, I used a white chocolate glaze and poured it over the cut ube pound cake (ube = a purple yam we Filipinos love using for our desserts). I’m not altogether too happy about how the glaze turned out, so maybe next time I’ll use candy melts for a more colorful pop and a smooth finish on the surface. Well, that, and I should probably have tempered the white chocolate correctly, which I’m beginning to think I didn’t.

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