Beloved Aunt Polly’s death leaves Alice miserable and the small town of Ipswitch floundering. Her world-famous restaurant serving free pies must close, but as the will is settled, everyone wonders who will get Polly’s award-winning pie crust recipe? No one is more surprised than Alice when Aunt Polly’s attorney presents her with Lardo, her aunt’s grumpy cat and sole inheritor of the coveted recipe. News ricochets through town. In its wake a mysterious villain vandalizes Polly’s shop and catnaps Lardo (in case the rumors that the recipe is tattooed on the feline’s enormous belly are true.)
Alice’s mother refuses to listen to Alice’s claims that the cat has been abducted and instead rages against her sister’s leaving her out of her will. It’s up to Alice and the local grocery delivery boy to solve the mystery and rescue Lardo amid the whole town’s frantic attempts to recreate Polly’s famous pies.
An unexpected guest reveals the final pieces of Aunt Polly’s will, leaving Alice and her mother dumbfounded. While Alice knows the knot of grief inside her will never fully disappear, she finds a way to cope with the loss and keep her aunt close in her memory and in her sweet baked treats.
Though it grapples with a young girl’s first experience with grief, PIE is an overwhelmingly sweet story, packed not only with tender moments and humor but over a dozen pie recipes, ranging from the all-American classic Apple Pie to the unexpected Green Tomato Pie. This is a great story to read aloud – with frequent breaks to do a little baking! What a great opportunity to bond with middle readers both in literature and in the kitchen.