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Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles by Rupert Kingfisher is another book I would place firmly in the transitional readers section of any library. Short chapters, not many lines of text to a page, illustrations to give the text interest, and of a manageable length, this is perfect for newly confident readers aged six to ten. It would make a lovely book to read and share with younger readers too.

The book is marketed as one that will be of most interest to girls, purple sparkly covers and cute illustrations all aim it squarely at girls, but I thought if you could get a boy reader past the cuteness of it, you might well hook them in.

The story is about Monsieur Lard, a horrible restaurant owner in Paris. He is convinced his restaurant is the best in France, and that his ideas and recipes will propel him to fame and riches beyond his wildest dreams. Sadly, his food is disgusting and his attitude stinks just as badly.

He has taken on his niece, Madeleine for the holidays, and she works in the kitchens washing up greasy pans all day.  She dreams of cooking her own, delicious food, but Monsieur Lard is jealous of her ability and bullies her unmercifully.

One day, when they have run out of offal pate, Madeleine is sent to buy some, and winds up in a mysterious shop full of the most magical and amazing food. The shop is run by the equally mysterious Madame Pamplemousse, with the aid of her fearsome cat, Camembert.  In the shop Madeleine discovers recipes and food stuffs she has never dreamed of, and instead of the offal pate, Madame Pamplemousse sends her back to the restaurant with a magical and mysterious pate, which tastes so divine it impresses even the most fearsome restaurant critic in France.

Monsieur Lard is determined to steal Madame Pamplemousse’s recipe and will stop at nothing to get it, even enlisting Madeleine as an unwilling spy.

Will Madame Pamplemousse outwit the disgusting Monsieur Lard?

You bet!

The story is magical, but with a nice hint of humour and a lovely sense of the macabre that stops it being sentimental and twee.

This is the first in a series of books about Madame Pamplemousse. My children listened to this on audio tape when we were on holiday and all loved it. We have since got it out of the library to read, along with others in the series and they have all been a big hit.