cover image The Last Super Chef

The Last Super Chef

Chris Negron. HarperCollins, $16.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-294313-2

Fifth grader Curtis Pith, who is white, has always looked out for his mother and younger sister. With his mom juggling job after unstable job, however, Curtis’s dream of becoming a chef is difficult to sustain, as making rent takes precedence over purchasing practice ingredients. But Curtis is armed with the secret knowledge that his father is world-renowned television superstar chef Lucas Taylor—both have “identical sandy-brown hair, even down to the spike up front”—and so Curtis dreams on, believing he’ll reach his goals eventually. When Chef Taylor announces that the final season of his show will feature five child contestants instead of adults, Curtis jumps at the chance to prove his skills, meet his father, and provide a better life for his family. But once Curtis gets accepted, the competition proves fiercer than anticipated, involving talented young cuisiniers from all over the world. Food descriptions and attention to preparatory details pop as Negron (Dan Unmasked) serves up a toothsome tale filled with insight into the unseen obstacles even idols face, accented by commentary on poverty and different forms that family can assume. Ages 8–12. Agent: Alyssa Jennette, Stonesong Press. (July)