Ready, Set, Dough!

Crown. Oct. 2023. 176p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593429174.
Gr 4-6–The premise of Baptist’s latest will be familiar to all middle grade readers. Zoe, a highly motivated Black girl in sixth grade, has set her sights on selling the most cookie dough in her all-school fundraiser. As an aspiring journalist with computer problems, she wants to claim the campus top-seller prize, a laptop computer, and has plenty of competition to keep her busy. Zoe must learn to keep her fiercely competitive personality in check and remember that people and relationships are more important than winning a contest, even though she sees it as beneficial to her family in the long run. Middle grade readers will enjoy Zoe’s quick comebacks and witty banter with her best friend, Felix, and her older brother, Mark. Baptist crafts a spunky, focused female character who has tons of drive, great goals, and funny insight. The book ends as expected and exemplifies the mindset that goals are always achievable if one works hard—which may not be completely realistic but makes for a fun read. This title will appeal to readers who enjoy books with confident, empowered female protagonists like Kelly Yang’s Front Desk and Janae Marks’s From the Desk of Zoe Washington, and also to reluctant readers who enjoy a succinct, tight story.
VERDICT A fun, relatable realistic fiction title recommended for all middle grade readers and collections.

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