Watch Kids' Reviews of
FUDGE FATALE: THE MARVELOUS ADVENTURES OF ANNA BELLE

What to know: Light and engaging with a charming characters full of energy and undoubtedly the best detective in town.
KIDS FIRST ENDORSED
Recommended age 8-12
90 minutes
Book
NEPTUNE PRESS LLC/ D.G. STERN
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FUDGE FATALE: THE MARVELOUS ADVENTURES OF ANNA BELLE cover image
A light yet engaging read, Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle will delight young readers with its lifelike dialogue, vivid details and easy-to-follow storyline.

The book by D.G. Stern follows Anna Belle's story. A talented baker, her sweet treats are to die for. Creative, full of energy and probably the best detective in town, Anna Belle is not to be trifled with. In this installment of The Marvelous Adventures of Anna Belle, she teams up with her charismatic Uncle Clyde, a police officer, to find the culprit who has been robbing neighbors of their possessions. It's a thrilling story which many will enjoy.

Each of the characters in the book has its own distinct personality. Anna Belle is kind and gentle. Doris is good-natured and a bit eccentric. Uncle Clyde is intelligent and helps keep everyone's spirits up. Sometimes the lines are blurred between the roles of each character. For example, Whiskers (Anna Belle's assistant) seems to have a smaller role than Doris, the store clerk, but is mentioned more at the start of the story. Next, the mystery angle of the story is well-thought-out, but it feels somewhat weakened by the interspersed descriptions of Anna Belle's work at her bakery. Still, he plot is gripping and the 90 page length is perfect for young readers. Finally, there are some extremely long sentences that are a bit confusing. However, they are far and few between.

Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle promotes teamwork, such as when Anna Belle enlists the help of her friends to prepare for the bake-a-thon in three days, having a good work ethic and being curious (the main theme of the book), while discouraging stealing. It's a positive book that will leave you feeling as warm and fuzzy inside as Anna Belle's chocolate chip cookies.

I give Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle 4 stars out of 5 and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. It is available as an ebook August 15, 2021 so look for it.

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Baker by day; Secret Undercover Detective by night! Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventures of Anna Belle is a chapter book that makes a perfect read for young people looking for a simple and exciting adventure.

The storyline follows a small-town baker, Anna Belle, who has a secret identity as the town's undercover detective. Her initial attempt to solve a mystery of disappearing items turns into a thrilling adventure filled with action and sweet treats.

Mystery books are my favorite genre of books to read along with young adult books. If this is the case for you as well, you will definitely enjoy this! The author D.G. Stern is very specific to the point that some of the information is a bit over-the-top. Still sometimes there is very little background context, which is a result of it being part of a series. The names of the characters such as Anna Belle and her feline assistant Whiskers are common names that help give the reader a sort of familiarity. The best part is that the plot twists are absolutely phenomenal. Just following Anna Belle throughout this mystery is exhilarating to read. You won't want to place this book down. While there are very few illustrations, they really help guide your imagination in picturing the events as they unfold. I especially love what a strong female voice the author gives Anna Belle.

This book promotes positive social behavior and encourages young people to think critically and to believe they can accomplish a goal, no matter how big it may seem.

I give Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventures of Anna Belle 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 12. It is available as an ebook August 15, 2021 so look for it.

By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

The most appealing aspect of Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle is the mystery. The story is comprised of two story lines and sometimes the two intersect, which heightens the overall mystery. The only thing that was unappealing for me is the repetitiveness. Often, chapters repeat the same information. I understand that this is may be intentional so children can grasp the plot easily, but I question whether it is necessary. I believe children will enjoy this e-book because it is easy to envision the characters, and each one is very well developed. For example, Doris, Anna Belle's assistant at the bakery, is zany and eccentric. Her personality compliments Anna Belle's seriousness. Of course the mystery and the funny outcome will also keep children engaged throughout.

Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle is a delightful mystery story intertwined with a fun-filled bake-a-thon. Anna Belle doubles as Pine Meadows' best baker and an investigator trying to solve the community's issue with stolen pearls. The most appealing aspect is the mystery.

The story flows well. The exposition at the beginning is clear and it will definitely be easy for children to comprehend. The middle is also clear when Anna Belle and her friends finally figure out how to prep for the bake-a-thon, and find out that more pearls are being stolen in the community. The end is the resolution of Clyde winning the bake-a-thon, having all their hard word pay off, and discovering that a monkey has stolen the pearls. Although there are some challenging words such as intrepid, crestfallen, modicum and incorrigible, these words are paired with context clues and are balanced with over-explaining other aspects of the plot. There are definitely positive modeling behaviors shown, such as respect. Throughout the story, everyone has a chance to speak and be listened to. It is important for children to recognize at a young age that their opinions are relevant. There are some negative connotations about gender stereotypes. For example, one of the men assumes that no men will participate in the baking competition. At another point, he says something along the lines of "send the pretty bakers to me." Although these are both small, and Anna Belle corrects him both times, I ask whether they are necessary? A strong point is how it teaches children to question everything and, since this story is all about investigation and inquiry, that's critical. Sometimes, one needs to think outside of the realm of possibilities to reach the possibility. This book encourages children to take action on their own aspirations. If they want to be involved in their community, or run events, or be successful in general Anna Belle is a great example to follow. One of the key benefits of the story is that Anna Belle does not put on a fa�ade for the reporters that are getting coverage for the bake-a-thon. She says, "I am going to be who I always am." This is significant for children to learn because it teaches them to never change themselves for others.

This story has multiple little lessons woven into the overall message including how to successfully bake a cake, why people shouldn't eat raw eggs, and that both men and women can participate in baking competitions. The overall message is that Anna Belle does not put on a fa�ade for the reporters when speaking about the bake-a-thon. Seeing Anna Belle, her friends and family all working together to create a fun, successful community event can inspire children to do something similar.

I give rate Fudge Fatale: The Marvelous Adventure of Anna Belle 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 12, perhaps older. It gives children the confidence to always question everything and promotes the idea of staying true to oneself.

Reviewed by Tor F., KIDS FIRST!

Once you open the door to Anna Belle's bakery, you know that you have entered some place very special. The smell of freshly baked bread; the taste of double chocolate chip cookies; the vision of colorfully decorated birthday cakes and the sound of? Wait! Pastry doesn't have a sound. After you meet Anna Belle, you also know you have met someone quite marvelous. She is creative, full of energy and probably the best detective in town. Join Anna Belle and her feline assistant, Jocko, as they reveal the true identity of the culprit who has been robbing neighbors and end her light finger lifting of precious jewels in Fudge Fatale. https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/fudge-fatale-d-g-stern/1139825376
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