Reading level: Ages 3-7
Pages: 32 pages
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers(July 10, 2001)
• Starred Booklist Review
• Starred Kirkus Review
• Parent's Guide 2001 Children's Media Award Winner
• CCBC Choices 2002
• Best Picture Books of 2001, Baltimore County Public Library
This simple, well-designed picture book introduces the experience of dining on dim sum. Ingredients and kitchen tools are scattered across the endpapers, setting the scene for the culinary pleasure to come. The title page shows three little Asian girls and their parents in Chinatown about to enter a restaurant with a sign that advertises dim sum. In the double-page spreads that follow, the family is seated at a table, they choose small dishes of food from the carts wheeled to them by servers, and they share "a little bit of everything." Tired and full, they end the meal at a table full of empty dishes. On the last spread, an appended note offers translations of the term dim sum, a short history of the tradition, and an explanation of its customs. Lin's paintings are graphically striking. They combine a simplicity of form and design with a delight of patterning that appears in clothing and in backgrounds that are reminiscent of Matisse. Arresting, yet pleasing, combinations of color underscore the dynamic sense of every action portrayed, making even the selection of dishes an important moment, as it can feel to small children. Like the pleasures of dim sum, this is a compact treat.
From Children's Literature
With just a few words per page, Lin introduces us to the Chinese custom of having dim sum, a wide variety of hot and cold snacks, which the diner chooses from rolling carts. A family sitting around a table picks many different ones, from pork dumplings and fried shrimp to sweet tofu and egg tarts, and tastes them all. The double-page scenes depict the diners at tables and the loaded carts on highly decorative pages. A brilliant, red patterned background sets off the flat painted figures, in their traditionally decorated clothing, wielding their chopsticks. Front endpapers identify basic ingredients while the back pages show dim sum labeled in both English and English orthography Chinese. There is also a brief explanation of the origin and traditions associated with dim sum. Don't read when hungry!
From CCBC(Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices)
A young Chinese girl and her family go out to a restaurant for dim sum, and everyone chooses his or her favorite among the "many little dishes": sweet pork buns, fried shrimp, turnip cakes, egg tarts, and more. "Everyone eats a little bit of everything" before they are through in this short, lively text set against vibrant full-color art. A wonderful author's note provides an explanation of dim sum history and customs. Delightful end papers show many dim sum dishes with their English and Chinese names.
From Heart of Texas Reviews
This brightly colored picture book introduces children to a dining custom imported from China to urban USA--dim sum. The phrase means "point heart" because customers point to small dishes of food that please their hearts. DIM SUM FOR EVERYONE! shows the exotic and tasty dishes and their names in bright detail. Each page is filled with active illustrations that fill the space with color, texture, and movement. The full story of dim sum and its history is told in an appendix, but children get the basics of the process from the clear but simple narrative. This book would work well in multicultural settings or for a unit on foods of the world.
From Horn Book
From sweet pork buns and fried shrimp to turnip cakes and egg tarts, dim sum delicacies are savored by a family in a Chinatown restaurant. Lin's deft, colorful illustrations show Ba-Ba, Ma-Ma, and two little girls each choosing a favorite dish. The simple text is enriched by an endnote and endpapers that provide more information about the tradition and range of dim sum meals.
Dim sum is the perfect tea party for children because of the tasty, small dishes on teacarts from which to choose. Here, a little girl narrates a simple story of the delicious meal she shares with her family. Turnip cakes, fried shrimp, sweet pork buns, and sweet tofu are all chosen, and lastly, the narrator selects egg tarts. As each child selects from a cart, the perspective changes to focus on the chooser. The bright red restaurant rug is the background color for every page, setting off the silver carts with their goodies and the bright, patterned colors of the people's clothes. The yellow letters of the text at times curve to match the tables in the picture or appear a little off to the side so as not to interfere with the visual image. One particularly effective spread steps back and shows a half-dozen tables all filled with little dishes and the silver carts wending their way through them; the pattern is delightful. A history of the origins of dim sum and its popularity today is described in an epilogue. The bright green endpapers are decorated at the front with food, condiments, and tableware while the back endpapers depict almost two dozen dim sum dishes. A delightful read-aloud, sure to please those children who have enjoyed dim sum and a fascinating adventure for those who have yet to experience it.
Parents Guide, Fall 2001
Young children are welcomed into the culture of dim sum, or reminded of it, in a picture book showing a family of Chinese heritage enjoying sweet pork buns, fried shrimp, turnip cakes, egg tarts, and sweet tofu. End pages picture and name some of the dim sum delicacies. A two-page explanation at the back gives background for older siblings, tutors or others who are practiced readers. This exuberant fictional experience of an important aspect of Chinese culinary culture enjoyed by young children and adults alike is also a book for beginning readers of all heritages.
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