I chose Dim Sum for Everyone by Grace Lin as we enjoy learning about other cultures and the foods, traditions, and ways of different people.
I loved the colorful, bright cover to the book. My daughter enjoyed looking at all of the pictures and picking out just which foods that she would like to eat or try…some foods we had not heard of and had to look up to find out what they were and what they tasted like. Some foods like cilantro can not be found in our local stores, so I have experience with it, but my daughter does not.
The first two pages of the book are covered in small pictures and labels of all the different foods including shrimp, tapioca, carrots, water chestnuts, star anise, taro, rice vinegar, scallions, tofu, snow peas, soy sauce, wonton wrapper, Chinese kale, and more. Then we see a Chinese restaurant and families entering the building. After that, we see a picture of the inside of the restaurant and a fish tank with huge fish in it. The next picture is above a table; the family of five sits down and has chopsticks, a small plate, and a small cup in front of them. A cart can be seen by the side of the table. The story starts by saying “Little dishes on carts. Little dishes on tables.” Here we see carts of different foods being rolled around and families with small dishes in front of them at the tables. Each family member chooses what they are going to eat. Each chooses something different and then they all share each others’ choices.
The next picture is overhead of all the tables full of family members all eating from tiny dishes of various foods. After they eat, all that is left behind are the tiny dishes. There is a page explaining about the history of dim sum, which were small dishes of dumplings, cakes, and buns. Translated dim sum can mean “touches the heart” as each person picks out the food that “their heart desires” or “little heart” because of the tiny plates of food. After everyone has eaten, plates are not removed from the table as the restaurant tallies the bill from the amount of plates on the table! The last page again shows pictures of small plates of various foods such as stuffed pepper, but this time they are also labeled in Chinese and English.
I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought that I would. The story was just too short and so little text. The pictures were magnificent though. All pictures have a pattern of red or green swirls in the background. Very bright, colorful illustrations of a Chinese family as well as other diners of different races. All eat with chopsticks and we see the small pots of food on the carts and the small plates on the tables. We can see the excitement on their faces as they await the carts of food and see the stuffed feeling on their faces when they are done eating. It looks like total bliss to partake in dim sum! The names in the story are Ma-Ma for the mother, Ba-Ba for the father, Jie-Jie for the little girl, Mei-Mei for the other little girl, and it is told from the perspective of a third little girl.
The children look to be eight years old, six years old, and three years old. Eleven sentences make up the story in Dim Sum for Everyone, except for the history of dim sum which is five paragraphs. The non-rhyming text is in a tan color, chunky in size, and it is placed in different areas of the page. My favorite part of the book as well as my daughter’s was the little pictures of various foods in the front and back of the book. I would say this book would be great for any age child as the text is so simple and the book is so short; smaller children will love the bright pictures and older children will love learning about dim sum. Lovely illustrations do not make up for lack of a story.
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