Book Review: Nina’s Amazing Gift

Title: Nina’s Amazing Gift

Written by: Maya Lunde

Illustrated by: Hans Torgen Sandnes

Published by: Wacky Bee Books

Nina’s Amazing Gift by Maya Lunde and Hans Torgen Sandnes

The Wacky Bee Buzzy Reads series were launched in 2020. They are a quick read books ideal for children to read independently.

Nina’s Amazing Gift is about a young girl whose best friend, Choco has moved away. Nina is convinced her life will never be happy again. Then a mysterious envelope arrive from Choco. It contains five strange brown beans. Meanwhile, Raymond and Nigella and their sous chefs arrive in town for a cooking competition. Nina watches the contest from high up in the branches of the cherry tree she used to climb with Choco in the town square. She has the beans Choco sent to her in her pocket. Unknown to Nina the beans are cocoa beans.

It is hard to imagine a world where people have never tasted pizza, pancakes, chips and spaghetti. When the contestants start cooking these ‘new’ foods the judges get extremely excited. Maya Lunde weaves a hilarious creative tale of how Nina discovered chocolate, which she names after her best friends and becoming a late entry into the cooking competition.

At the back of the book there are some interesting true facts about chocolate and it is revealed the original illustrations by Hans Torgen Sandnes that have been reproduced throughout Nina’s Amazing Gift were actually made with chocolate. They are currently stored in a cold basement at a secret location, safe in plastic folders. After reading this amazing fact I had to go back and study each illustration in depth to absorb the fantastic detail and use of colour. Ingenious!

There is also a recipe for chocolate brownies at the back of the book, which could be undertaken at home or as a food technology session within school.

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