The Great Cake Bake ISBN: 9781848518315
Published by Gomer Press Limited (Pont Books), 2015
When almost-ten-year-old Aled is faced with the possibility of baking a cake for his school Eisteddfod, he is horrified. His dyslexia makes reading recipes difficult, and his mum isn't a great cook either. What can he do? Aled believes himself to be a loser. He can't do anything right, and while his mum is very pleased that he tries so hard and is proud of his efforts, he can't believe in himself. He and his mum are very close since his dad ran off years ago, and Aled is suspicious of anyone who comes around and shows interest in her. He has 'seen off' several men who were unsuitable and is convinced that he and mum will always be a happy duo. In spite of all this, he is a happy lad, and he and his friend Jac share lots of good times together. When Geraint appears on the scene, Aled is convinced that he will be able to get rid of him just as he has his mum's other suitors. But Geraint is a stayer, and even Jac believes that he might make a good step-dad. In a laugh-out-loud chapter on Aled's attempts to make a cake, in which he uses a recipe from his equally dyslexic grandmother's book, the cake explodes in the oven leaving a massive mess behind. His remarkably laid back mum is understanding, and together they clear it up. Throughout the story we see that Aled is really a wonderfully caring boy who helps his mum around the house willingly (when he's not exploding cakes) and stands up for his fellow classmates who are being bullied. And above all, he is a 'trier'. All the school knows this and love him for it, but he is not convinced of his own abilities. When his reading assistant brings in transparent coloured plastic strips to put over the pages, his reading begins slowly to improve, and when Geraint admits that he too had dyslexia as a child and that he is much better now, Aled begins to think things are looking up. It is only when he rescues an old lady and her dog who have been badly hurt and everyone praises him that he comes fully to recognise that he has his own talents. And, of course, Geraint is set fair to become his 'almost-dad'. This really is a true-to-life story of what it is like to have dyslexia - how it feels and what it means to sufferers. Aled is a funny, warm and lovable boy who deserves his happy ending. My only caveat is that the print in the book is quite small, and as this would be ideal for those with dyslexia, it seems a shame not to have a large print version. Perhaps it could be put on the Internet where the print could be adapted.