Friday, June 25, 2021

Layla and the Bots return ... to make CUPCAKES!

Cupcake Fix (Layla and the Bots #3) 
by Vicky Fang; illus. by Christine Nishiyama 
80 pages; ages 5-7
Scholastic (Branches), 2021

I love books that incorporate STEAM elements in an organic way. So, when Vicky told the STEAM Team group that she had a new Layla & the Bots coming out this summer, I could not wait to read it. Fortunately for me, Vicky sent me an arc to satisfy my STEM-y sweet tooth.

Layla is a rock star, performing in a band with her bots. She is also an inventor, and in each book in the series, she uses her engineering and technical know-how to solve a problem. In this book she’s invited to perform at the community center grand opening. But the people in charge of the event are worried they won’t get the crowd they’re hoping for.

Food always brings people together. But what kind of food? Layla decides she needs a survey. 

What I like about this: a survey is a great way to collect information (data). But it’s not useful unless you have a way to analyze that information. So we get to see Layla graph survey results. This is cool – and is something any kid old enough to read this book can do. Heck, my kids were collecting data and graphing M&M colors at this age. (“Mom… we need another bag of M&Ms!”)

Once they discover that folks like cupcakes, the obvious next-step is to design and build a machine that bakes cupcakes and frosts them. 

The machine works! But… the first person to test it asks it to do something unexpected. And that causes problems which must be fixed before the grand opening. The clock is ticking … can Layla and the Bots debug the code and fix the machine in time?

Another thing I like: The problem that’s posed is how to build a machine that allows for personal choice in the baking, frosting, and decorating of cupcakes. Maybe it will get some kids wondering how decisions are made.

And – at the back there’s a Build Your Own activity. Not a cupcake machine – that would be too hard! But a fun extendable grabber arm.

On Wednesday I chatted with Vicky about why she’s so keen on integrating technology, engineering, and coding in her kid’s stories. Check it out at the GROG blog.

Thanks for dropping by today. On Monday we’ll be hanging out at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other  bloggers. It's over at Greg Pattridge’s blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review ARC provided by the author.


  1. I love how Vicky turns STEM processes into engaging stories.

  2. Love how the author combined a fun topic-making cupcakes-with science.

  3. A fun book for kids and who doesn't like a good cupcake? The survey angle is a perfect intro to gathering information. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

  4. This sounds like such a great story to get kids interested in STEM! Layla sounds like a delightful protagonist, and I love how coding and surveys are incorporated in the story. Thanks so much for the great review!

  5. Science and cupcakes -- sounds like a lot of fun! Anything to get kids interested and STEM and cooking.

    My great grandson adored your new book!

  6. This sounds like a great way to get kids interested in STEM. Thanks for telling me about it.