Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai – An Unexpected, Emotional, and Charming Middle Grade About Family, Immigrating, Grief, and CAKE!

Text: pie in the sky by remy lai. image: a shorter asian boy with a short buzzcut holds a pie to his mouth, about to eat it. a taller boy with longer hair, looks at him at the corner of his eye.

This time when you visit the Pond, the air smells… sweet? You follow your nose, and find Xiaolong by an… an oven? (You’re sure it wasn’t there before!)

XL pieinsky 1.pngWhen you call out to her, she turns around holding a bowl in one hand and whisking vigorously with her other.

“Hello friend!” she greets. “I just read this amazing book, which included a recipe! Isn’t that amazing? So I decided to bake this cake for you so we had afternoon tea while we talked about it, but it’s taking a big longer than I thought.”

When you offer to help her, she magics you an apron – just so you won’t get your clothes all dirty! You follow her instructions – you sift the flour, you add the water, you crack the eggs over, and she even lets you add the colouring too!

An illustration of a rainbow cake on a plate.After the cake is done, you wait next to the oven, both you and Xiaolong giddy and excited for the cake to be finished. When the cake is finally done, Xiaolong magics it out of the oven – so none of you will get burnt! – and she gives you a slice.

“Well, now that we all have some food to eat,” says Xiaolong, helping herself to a slice as well, “let me tell you about an amazing book that I read, friend. It’s called Pie in the Sky…”

Blurb:

When eleven-year-old Jingwen moves to a new country, he feels like he’s landed on Mars. School is torture, making friends is impossible since he doesn’t speak English, and he’s often stuck looking after his (extremely irritating) little brother, Yanghao.

To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of Pie in the Sky, the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away. The only problem is his mother has laid down one major rule: the brothers are not to use the oven while she’s at work. As Jingwen and Yanghao bake elaborate cakes, they’ll have to cook up elaborate excuses to keep the cake making a secret from Mama.

CW’s review:

I received a review copy from the author. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

When I discovered Pie in the Sky by chance and listed it as one of the books I was most excited to read in 2019, I had no idea – no idea – that I was about to read one of my favourite books ever. I say this with absolute honesty and with my whole heart: I thank all the stars in the sky, the fabric of the universe, and the chaos of life for aligning and allowing me to cross paths with Remy, the author of Pie in the Sky, who gave me an advanced reader’s copy of her incredible quiet book.

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Is It Just Me Or Do Your Pond Friends… Look A Little Different? [April Fools!]

It’s the first of April, the beginning of a new and exciting month of books, but the Pond looks a little strange. Everything seems a little more crisp. And sharper. It’s like you suddenly have a magical pair of goggles and you are seeing the Pond with a new lens. The magic is still in the air, you can feel it, but you have a sneaking suspicion that something is very… off about the Pond.

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Update on The Pond’s New Friends – We’ve Found Co-Bloggers!

The moment you enter the Pond’s magical boundary, you see Xiaolong hurtling towards you, as fast as her little feet can fly.

“Friend!” she exclaims, coming to a rough stop by your feet. “I have the most amazing news!”

Xiaolong the pink axolotl wearing a purple upside down hat, giving you the thumbs-up.You greet Xiaolong and ask her about her good news. You have become quite acquainted with Xiaolong’s bursts of energy and enthusiasm, but she looks particularly excited today. Now you’re curious!

She gives you a big thumbs-up! “We’ve found new friends to join us at The Quiet Pond!”

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The Pond’s Most Anticipated Reads of 2019, Part I. – Eight Sequels Releasing in 2019 That Will Inevitably Destroy Me (In a Good Way)

TEXT: The Pond's Most Anticipated Reads; Eight Sequels Releasing in 2019 That Will Destroy Me; Image: Xiaolong the pink axolotl, reading a book and sitting inside a book tent and fort, surrounded by books.

You’re feeling rather excited to visit the Pond today. Before leaving the magical boundary of the Pond on your last visit, little Xiaolong had run after you and told you that she was planning something fun for everyone. “I wanted to start a tradition,” she had said. “And because you’re our good friend, I want you to be there. Make sure you visit soon, okay?”

As you cross the boundary into the Pond, you see that little blanket forts have been erected around the Pond’s edge.

Xiaolong the pink axolotl wearing an upside-down flower hat, smiling and holding up a stack of books.“Friend!” calls Xiaolong. She crawls out from one of the blanket forts – the blanket is a blue as deep as the sky with golden stars embroidered on it – holding a small stack of books. “Surprise!” she cheers, looking absolutely delighted. “I thought having a blanket fort party would be a great way to start the new year would be to have a big sleepover where we just read together and talk about the books we’re excited about. Look! I even made a tent for you.”

You turn around, following her gaze. Indeed, across from Xiaolong’s tent is your very own blanket fort – you were worried for a second that you had to squeeze into Xiaolong’s tiny one! You make yourself comfortable in your own fort, and glance around; it’s pretty cosy in here.

So what books are you excited about, Xiaolong? you ask.

A big smile grows on Xiaolong’s face at your question. She sits across from you, and holds up one of the books in her stack. And thus begins your blanket fort party, where she shares with you all the books she’s excited to read this year.

Friends, I went down the Goodreads rabbit hole. I thought to myself, okay, I’ll just put together a simple list of 8 books that I’m excited about! And so I did a lot of research. Five hours later, I found over 70 wonderful diverse books that are releasing in 2019 alone – and I’m still not finished looking. And I realised, oh dear, choosing only EIGHT BOOKS RELEASING IN 2019 is an impossible task.

So rather than agonise for hours about which eight books to choose, I decided to do a week-long feature of all the books I am excited about!

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Xiaolong’s Favourite Reads of 2018!

XL faves header.png

With the year drawing to a close, you’re feeling a little anxious but excited about what the new year will bring. You remember Xiaolong asking you to visit her near the year’s end. And so that’s where you are off to today.

XL faves copy.png“Hi friend!” greets Xiaolong, when you enter the Pond. “It’s always good to see you. Today I have some books to share with you today – my favourite books of this year!” She holds up the stack of books in her hands up to you, showing you their shiny spines. “I read so many good books this year, but I think these ones are my top eight books.”

You sit down next to her, and ask her what her favourites are. “I’ll tell you, but after you have to tell me what your favourites are too, okay?”

She takes a seat too, picks up the first book, and begins: “So, one of my favourite books was…”

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