In this tasty story of tenacity and ingenuity, everyone in the family can make perfect bao except for Amy. Hers are “too empty or too fat. They have holes them. They leak.” Amy is good at many other things, Zhang assures readers, and bao making can’t be too far beyond her grasp—especially since her parents and grandmother are happy to dedicate a day to helping. But perfection continues to elude the increasingly frazzled child, until she figures out how to hack the process by using smaller dough circles (“Amy-size”), which yield flawless bao that “are soft and fluffy and so, so delicious.” Chua’s bright-eyed protagonist is winning from the start, and the book’s jaunty pacing, sparkly palette, and visual directness are reminiscent of a classic animated cartoon short. A bao recipe concludes, as does a revelation that “not-so-perfect bao” taste just as a good as their tidy counterparts. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
A Kirkus Best Book of 2019
TODAY.com’s 31 Best Gifts for 5-Year-Olds 2019
“Upbeat...This is a book to get creative juices flowing.” —The New York Times
“This sweet book both encourages cooking together as a family and rewards creative problem-solving.” —Food Network Blog
“An extra-tasty book for bao lovers everywhere.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Winning.” —Publishers Weekly
“Children will relate to this readaloud if they’ve ever faced a situation when emulating adults failed, but Amy’s triumph is sure to inspire them to try again.” —BCCB
PreS-Gr 2-Amy loves "soft and fluffy and so, so delicious" bao. She can (and sometimes does) eat them nonstop. Making bao is an all-day affair with Dad making the dough, Mom seasoning the meat, and everyone putting them together. Mom and Dad and Grandma make perfect bao, but Amy cannot do it—hers are too big or too small, have too much stuffing or not enough, or just plain fall apart. (At least they still taste good.) After another frustrating bao-making day, Amy has an idea to fix the problem. Adults readers take note—her solution will also work for young readers who want to try the recipe included in the back. Chua's brightly colored full-page digital illustrations capture Amy's exuberant approach to life and her bao-making despair. Font size changes, coupled bolded words and phrases, add even more pep to Zhang's spirited text that's sure to please storytime and one-on-one audiences. Those who aren't already bao connoisseurs will understand the childhood frustration of struggling with a much-desired skill. VERDICT A delightful story about a determined girl not letting her age and size keep her from mastering a delicious talent. Be prepared for hungry readers.-Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA
A little girl wants to make perfect bao, just like the ones her mom, dad, and grandma make.
Making bao is a multigenerational affair in the Wu family. Amy's mom, dad, and grandma make perfect bao that come out "soft and fluffy, and so, so delicious." Amy "could eat them all day." However, the bao that Amy makes are always too small or too big, and sometimes they "fall apart before they reach her mouth." One day, Amy is determined "to make the world's most perfect bao." (The typeface is determined too.) First, Amy's dad mixes flour, water, and yeast to make dough for the bread (yay for dads in the kitchen!). Then "Amy's mom seasons meat for the filling." Finally, everyone gathers around the table to work. Everyone makes perfect bao…everyone except Amy. Amy is about to give up when she thinks of the perfect "Amy-size" plan and gets to work! Zhang's buoyant, bubbly text is complemented by Chua's charming, animated characters, who include an equally expressive kitty as sidekick. In one scene, Amy slumps on the floor with flour-covered face and clothes, cradling a misshapen bao. Her forlorn face exemplifies despair, while kitty mirrors her. Step-by-step illustrations, combined with the author's family recipe, provide readers with a guide to making bao. The Wus all appear to be East Asian.
An extra-tasty book for bao lovers everywhere. (Picture book. 4-8)