Children's Book of the Month: Mint Choc Chip at the Market Cafe

Book: Mint Choc Chip at the Market Cafe by Jonathan Meres | Age category: 5-8

Priya has three special days of the week; Tuesday, when she plays football; Friday, when she goes to science club; and Saturday, when she visits the market with her parents and Nana-ji. Her parents run a pet supplies stall at the market, but as the story progresses changes occur which worry both Priya and her parents.

However, Nana-ji is on hand to offer her pearls of wisdom: 'that’s the way the cookie crumbles,' 'all competition is good competition,' and present the solution to many problems- ice cream! Nana-ji tells Priya about her favourite ice cream from her childhood, Kulfi, and there is even a recipe included in the book so you can create your own. By the end of the story, there is no resolution for Priya or her family, and they are concerned about the future of the family business. In amongst all the uncertainly, there is one thing that is certain to always to brighten Priya's day- mint chocolate chip ice cream!

Mint Choc Chip at the Market Cafe is beautifully illustrated and tells a touching story that explores themes of friendship, family and change and introduces unfamiliar cultures in a wonderfully sensitive and accessible way. It is part of Barrington Stokes's Little Gem range and has a dyslexia-friendly layout sprinkled with Hannah Coulson's wonderful illustrations. This is a story for all to enjoy! 

Enter our competition to win a copy of Mint Choc Chip at the Market Cafe by Jonathan Meres

Question and Answer with Jonathan Meres

Priya’s favourite ice cream is mint choc chip, and Nana-ji loves raspberry ripple. What is your favourite flavour?

I honestly don’t have a favourite. And I don’t tend to eat a lot of ice cream, anyway. Unless I go to Italy.  Where it is THE LAW to eat ice cream. And usually combinations of flavours that I’ve never even heard of. Like, Butterscotch & Branston Pickle. (Who knew?) Seriously though? I do love kulfi.

Hannah Coulson’s illustrations wonderfully capture both the markets that Nana-ji remembers from her childhood and the UK markets which most readers will be more familiar with. Did you have specific places in mind when you were creating the setting?

Most definitely. My dad was a market trader (see the dedication at the front of the book) and I sometimes used to go with him, in the school holidays. So, in my mind, the market in the book is very much based on Derby market, where Dad sold fabrics for over 50 years!

By the end of the story, the future is still uncertain for Priya and her family. Why did you choose to leave the worries about the family business unresolved, and what do you want readers to take away from this ending?

Yes, it was a conscious decision, to leave things unresolved. I guess I wanted to say that there isn’t always a nice, neat solution to every problem. I think it would have been a little unrealistic if Priya, a nine-year-old girl, had singlehandedly prevented a retail park from being built. Sometimes stuff happens that you can’t do anything about. As Nana-ji says, ‘everything will be fine’ in the end. It’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Competition

We have five copies of Mint Choc Chip at the Market Cafe to be won! To be in with a chance of winning, just answer the question below. The competition closes at 5pm on Friday 29 June. All entrants must reside in the UK.

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