Noodle Magic


Everyone has the magic within!

Grandpa Tu is famous for his special noodles, and as the emperor's birthday approaches, he teaches his granddaughter, Mei, the family trade. Mei struggles to find the magic needed to make noodles. Ultimately, she finds the magic--and the ability to succeed--within. Mei doesn't just make noodles--her magic noodles in varied shapes and sizes rain down from the sky!

NOODLE MAGIC is written in the style of a Chinese ...

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Everyone has the magic within!

Grandpa Tu is famous for his special noodles, and as the emperor's birthday approaches, he teaches his granddaughter, Mei, the family trade. Mei struggles to find the magic needed to make noodles. Ultimately, she finds the magic--and the ability to succeed--within. Mei doesn't just make noodles--her magic noodles in varied shapes and sizes rain down from the sky!

NOODLE MAGIC is written in the style of a Chinese folk story, with engaging cultural and community aspects. The family connection that's at the heart of the story has universal appeal. The grandfather and granddaughter work together to accomplish what one could not do alone. Meilo So, whose BRUSH OF THE GODS received four starred reviews, brings the story to life with beautiful, breathtaking illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mei’s grandfather Tu is a master noodle maker, and his noodles are not just for eating. They can be anything, from jump ropes to kite strings. When he says it’s Mei’s turn to make magic noodles for the emperor’s birthday, she’s baffled. “Magic must come from within,” he tells her. As Mei works, Grandpa Tu offers her encouragement, and after a tug-of-war with none other than the Moon Goddess perched in the moon above, Mei makes enough noodles to feed everybody: “The sky rained noodles.” So’s (Brush of the Gods) exuberantly drawn and tinted illustrations feature the curves of traditional Chinese architecture, vignettes of village life, and rhythmic movement, as noodles fall in fanciful, calligraphic curlicues. Thong’s (Round Is a Tortilla) text features two themes that seem at cross-purposes. One is the reality-based theme of passing down traditional knowledge, with an emphasis on sensory experience; the other is a folklore-style fantasy in which anything can happen. So while it’s a tasty morsel of Chinese culinary culture, the action can be hard to follow. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Sally Heflin, Heflinreps. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

Praise for BRUSH OF THE GODS (written by Lenore Look and illustrated by Meilo So)
*"Stunning ... artwork brings to life ancient China." --SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, starred review

*"The richly colored artwork is stunning in both its scope and particulars; inky calligraphy brushstrokes accent people and place." --BOOKLIST, starred review

Praise for WATER SINGS BLUE (written by Kate Coombs and illustrated by Meilo So)
*"So's watercolor spreads are supple and filled with life ... the evocative descriptions and images echo and linger." --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, starred review

Praise for ROUND IS A MOONCAKE: A BOOK OF SHAPES (written by Roseanne Thong and illustrated by Grace Lin)
"Thong cleverly uses a concept book to celebrate Chinese culture. ... Tipping its hat to both the melting pot and ethnic pride, this makes an enchanting primer for children of all backgrounds." --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Young Mei watches Grandpa Tu "make magic with his hands and a bit of dough" as he mixes the ingredients in the morning, then slaps, kneads, and stretches it into magical coils that take the shape of exotic birds, cats, and roosters—even kite strings for the village children. The day before the emperor's birthday, Grandpa insists that Mei mix the dough, and together they slap, knead, and stretch it. After the child spends a long, tiring night trying to replicate Grandpa's magic, the elderly man—patient and encouraging—helps her to stretch the dough and watches as she rolls it into a huge noodle ball and tosses it into the sky toward the Moon Goddess, who gives her the confidence to find her own magic—just in time for the emperor's celebration. So has used an array of vibrant colors in her lead pencil-highlighted folk art paintings of the small, bustling Chinese town where Mei and Grandpa Tu reside above the noodle shop, and she has filled each scene with captivating details of everyday life and customs. The Moon Goddess—a large, smiling, chubby-cheeked jinni of a woman—can be seen sitting in the crescent moon in every nighttime scene—even toasting young Mei at the end of the delightful fantasy. A sweet, magical tale of a child being raised by a loving and nurturing adult.—Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
In this slurp-worthy picture book, Mei loves to watch Grandpa Tu create noodles spun out of dough, magic and plenty of heart. The emperor's birthday approaches, and Mei's village buzzes with preparations. Grandpa Tu, a master noodle maker, enchants Mei with show-stopping dexterity, as he slaps, kneads and stretches plain dough into wondrous noodles. Mei asks if he can make jump ropes or kite strings from noodles. He answers with poetic wit—"Simple as a sunflower seed" and "Easy as a sea breeze"—and works through the night with abandon. When it's time for the emperor's long-life noodles, a birthday tradition, to be made, the villagers are surprised to learn Grandpa Tu isn't making them. Instead, he says it's time for Mei to learn the art of magic noodle making herself. This intergenerational relationship endears from the start, and readers will want not only a plate of noodles, but a grandpa like Tu. Thong plants a playful, repeated rhythm to describe his technique ("SLAP, knead and stretch"), which grows organically with Mei's discovery of her own talents. So's rich watercolor illustrations radiate affection between the two, especially when they stretch noodles in a cats-cradle-like fashion or across the gutter in a vigorous culinary workout. And animal-shaped noodles, in the forms of cats, roosters and a dragon, add whimsy and elegance.Playing with your food has never been quite so enticing. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545521673
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/25/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 780,068
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD660L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Roseanne Greenfield Thong lived in Asia for more than fifteen years and currently lives in Southern California. She is the author of more than a dozen picture books, including ROUND IS A MOONCAKE, RED IS A DRAGON, and WISH. Visit her online at

Meilo So was born in Hong Kong, packaged in England, and domiciled in the Shetland Islands. She enjoys working with a variety of methods, media, and subjects. She is also the illustrator of BRUSH OF THE GODS, WATER SINGS BLUE, ALEX THE PARROT, and THE 20TH CENTURY CHILDREN'S POETRY TREASURY. For more information, go to

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