Review Detail

 
Kids Fiction
(Updated: May 01, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0

Pass the edamame and read this book!

Soybeans, or edamame, are not a particularly exotic foodstuff in the United States these days, but as recently as the 1950s, they were grown only as feed for livestock. Yet for thousands of Chinese immigrants, they were a rare and welcome taste of home. AUNTIE YANG’S GREAT SOYBEAN PICNIC by Ginnie Lo tells the story of a small soybean picnic (just a couple of families and a couple of quarts of soybeans taken from a local field) and how it grew to become a huge annual event, with hundreds of families gathering to eat thousands and thousands of soybeans.

The book is richly detailed, but not overwhelmingly so. The narrator, a young girl, plays with her cousins, helps her mother and auntie cook, and eats more dumplings than anyone else! There’s also a scattering of Chinese vocabulary, with a small guide at the back.

Beth Lo's illustrations are especially fascinating. They’re actually painted on plates, and then photographed. So the illustrations are round, ever so slightly concave, and of course, they reflect the central idea of the book: a shared meal. Also, they’re beautiful and fun to look at and explore.

The story is slow at times. It is much more about sinking into a different moment, a different culture, than it is about racing to find out what happens. The plot, such as it is, is gentle. However, the illustrations and cheerful narrative voice create a child-sized world for a curious reader to explore.

When a book is based on a true story – and what’s more, a story from the author’s own childhood – I am instantly suspicious. Such stories often have great personal meaning, but they don’t necessarily translate to a winder audience, because real life is so rarely narrative ready. In this case, however, the story is pitch perfect, and one well worth sharing with a class, or a child, perhaps with a bowl of edamame to snack on while you read.

Good Points
Amazing illustrations
Heartwarming true story
Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race
Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden were...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World
"Well-behaved women seldom make history." —Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Pulitzer Prize-winning...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Begin a fantastic journey with our hero, the Warrior from...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Fairy Mom and Me
From the bestselling author of the Shopaholic series and the...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Picture Us in the Light
Danny Cheng has always known his parents have secrets. But...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Time Tracers
Twelve-year-old Taj Carter is on a high-stakes mission to track...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Screenshot
Skye's social media game is always on point. Until her...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Better Together (Heartwood Hotel, #3)
Spring has come to Fernwood Forest, and the Heartwood Hotel...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sky in the Deep
A 2018 Most Anticipated Young Adult book that is...
 
5.0
 
5.0 (1)
Devils Unto Dust
Keep together. Keep your eyes open. Keep your wits...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
All The Things We Lost
After her mother’s death, eighteen-year-old Katie finds herself in...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
White Rabbit
Caleb Roehrig, author of Last Seen Leaving, delivers another...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Worst Fairy Godmother Ever!
Q: What do you need to become a great fairy...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ada: Aegis Default
Newly famous and burdened with responsibility, Ada Anand has to...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ada: Solstice Volition
When Ada Anand is given a very special gift for...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Drum Roll, Please
Find the confidence to rock out to your own beat...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Lord Garmadon, Evil Dad (The LEGO Ninjago Movie: Storybook)
 
3.0
"Ideal for beginning readers and avid young fans of the LEGO Ninjago Movie. Lord Gamadon is about as..."
Lion vs. Rabbit
 
4.0
"Lion is not very nice. He bullies the other animals, and they're all afraid to stand up to him. In..."
The Word Collector
 
5.0
"Jerome's hobby is words. He collects them. He classifies them. He loves them. One day, Jerome's collection is scattered, and..."
Free as a Bird: The Story of Malala
 
4.7
"Inarguably valuable—an inspirational and world-expanding children’s book. Having read I am Malala (the adult version of Malala Yousafzai’s memoir),..."
The Digger and the Flower
 
4.5
"'The Digger and the Flower' by Joseph Kuefler shows the power of goodness when everything else seems to be overtaking..."
Superbat
 
5.0
"Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a bat in a costume! Pat the bat is a..."
Plant the Tiny Seed
 
4.5
" This book relies on the interactive nature of read-alouds for young children. Beginning with a single zinnia seed, the..."
Blue vs. Yellow
 
5.0
"'Blue vs. Yellow' by Tom Sullivan focused on the creative ways in which those two colors can be used, along..."
Big and Little Are Best Friends
 
4.5
"Big and Little, an elephant and a mouse, are best friends. But their friendship isn't based on common interests. Big..."
Confiscated!
 
4.5
"'Confiscated' by Suzanne Kaufman tells the story of two dinosaur brothers who each want the same toys. When their mother..."
Flowers for Sarajevo
 
5.0
"Haunting and hopeful. The bombing one of the last working bakeries in the city of Sarajevo might have been..."
Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart
 
2.7
"I don’t think I’ve ever read a dog story without either crying or grinning through it. GOBI: A LITTLE DOG..."
Plankton Is Pushy
 
4.0
"A quick and comical read, rife with sarcasm. A particular plankton is used to eliciting a response from every..."
Dill & Bizzy: Opposite Day
 
4.5
"'Dill & Bizzy Opposite Day' by Nora Ericson, illustrated by Lisa Ericson, is an adorable story about two best friends..."
Zebra on the Go
 
5.0
"ZEBRA ON THE GO was an overall well put together book. The rhyming had me hanging on each line. The..."
The Story of the Easter Bunny
 
4.0
"THE STORY OF THE EASTER BUNNY is a story I've never heard before. It tells about how the Easter Bunny..."
Shark Dog!
 
4.0
"SHARK DOG! is half-dog, half-shark, and 100 percent the main girl's friend. The main girl, whose name isn't mentioned,..."
The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors
 
4.5
"'The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors,' written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Adam Rex, is an enjoyable play on..."
The Thing Lou Couldn't Do
 
4.0
"The first thing that occurred to me when I read this book was how much I could relate to the..."
The Princess and the Frogs
 
4.5
"Princess Cassandra has dresses, books, and servants, but she doesn’t have a best friend. Fortunately she has servants to send..."