Sunday, July 24, 2016

Summer Reading 2016: The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase


Readers of the original story will find all their favorite characters in this delightful sequel. Logan, Daisy, Miles, Philip, and the assorted adults are all back for more candy and adventure. The last time we saw our intrepid heroes, Philip had won the Confectionery Association's annual New Candy Contest with the help of his friends. As we start the new book, it is almost time for the grand unveiling of the Harmonicandy and everyone is busy with plans for the big ceremony, the publicity, and getting the candy out to the stores and distributors. All the boys are at the Life is Sweet factory daily, but Daisy has been out of touch (on her latest assignment as the world's best young spy), although the boys can contact her using the vidphones she gave them for emergencies.

There are several things going on at the same time. (1) The owner of the Mmm Mmm Good candy factory is retiring and closing down operations, so he gives Logan's family 4 of his candies to produce at Life Is Sweet. (2) Logan's parents had planned to take the kids on a road trip to visit the stores that are premiering the Harmonicandy, but now they need to stay and oversee the new recipes. (3) Logan discovers that something is not right with the chocolate they used in the contest and wants to find some answers. (4) Philip's father has entered him a national talent contest. (5) Miles finds an old map, possibly a treasure map, in a box of journals and papers, and has also developed a love of geocaching and wants to look for caches during the road trip. (6) Daisy has to make a "dead drop" as part of a mission. (7) And Henry (from the marshmallow room at the factory), arranges a driver/chaperone for the road trip in place of Logan's parents. Whew!

I enjoyed how the first half of the book showed the same few days from each character's point of view. So we start off looking at things through Logan's eyes. Then we see the same things as Miles experiences them, then it's Daisy's turn, and then Philip's. As we read, and come across the same scene from the other POV, it suddenly makes a different kind of sense and we get those "a-ha" moments. Then the second half of the book has everyone all together and the action moves even more quickly. I also liked that the four main characters all discovered something about themselves and their families during this journey, as well as growing closer as friends and teammates.

There is something for almost everyone in this story. We have action, adventure, cool spy gadgets, a cat that barks like a dog, shooting stars, a giant telescope, maps, geocaching, drones, bio-luminescence, and lots of candy. Take "Willy Wonka", mix in some "Spy Kids", and then a little road trip fun and you get an inkling of how much fun this book is. 

Highly recommended for middle grades and up. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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