Anni Dreams of Biryani

Two Lions. Sept. 2022. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781542030410.
K-Gr 2–In this delightful picture book, young Anni loves biryani, a rice dish filled with meat and spices. She especially loves the biryani made by Mr. Arif, whom everyone calls Uncle, the owner of the cafe across the street from her apartment in Little India. Anni is determined to make biryani as good as his. Every Friday she asks a different question, hoping to identify the method and ingredients that he uses. Finally, she is ready to create her biryani, but it does not measure up. When the cafe closes down, Anni believes that her chance at mastering the recipe is gone. Anni is plucky; her world is vividly brought to life by the digitally created illustrations. Images of vegetables and spices dance across the pages in glowing yellows, greens, and reds. The final page gives detailed information about biryani, including the history of how it came to India. The recipe is not included—why not, for heaven’s sake?—although a link to a similar one is.
VERDICT A pleasant story for small chefs, this is great for story hours on favorite dishes from around the world.

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