cover image Sweet Dream Pie

Sweet Dream Pie

Audrey Wood. Blue Sky Press, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-590-96204-9

Wood and Teague (The Flying Dragon Room) have concocted a suspenseful sugar-shocker about a rare and dangerous dessert. Just before dawn, on peaceable Willobee Street, Ma and Pa Brindle open a dusty attic trunk to find the recipe for Sweet Dream Pie. Ma skeptically arches a white eyebrow, but Pa promises, ""I'll be good this time."" His antic expression, however, is an early clue that he'll do nothing of the sort. The tension builds as Ma and Pa throw ingredients into a pie tin the size of a hot tub. The recipe alone could cause cavities: ""Gumdrops flew through the air and rained down with marshmallows, candy corn, cinnamon hots.... A chocolate tornado sprang up and whirled out the door."" That afternoon, as the pie bubbles, an ominous heat wave settles on the neighborhood, and everyone longs to taste Ma's pie. After sundown, Pa and a boy stagger outside with the magical treat, and Ma ceremonially rings a bell that starts the feeding frenzy. All warnings for moderation are ignored, and Ma spends the night shooing away the green, semitransparent monsters of not-so-Sweet Dreams. Teague invents an entire town of awestruck humans, cats and dogs. His quasi-caricaturish style is aptly matched to the over-the-top story, and while his nightmare lizards and dinosaurs look weird and appropriately incongruous on sedate Willobee Street, their goony grins and monsters-just-want-to-have-fun playfulness will keep readers from getting scared. Wood may not discourage sugar junkies from eating sweets at bedtime, but she and Teague whip up a truly spine-tingling tall tale. Ages 4-9.(Apr.)