Dumpling Dreams: How Joyce Chen Brought the Dumpling from Beijing to Cambridge

illus. by Katy Wu. 48p. bibliog. chron. glossary. S. & S. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481467070.
K-Gr 2—A picture book biography about Joyce (born Liao Jia-ai) Chen, who is credited with bringing the dumpling to the United States. Through appealing digitally rendered illustrations and upbeat rhyming text, Clickard celebrates the life of Chen in a way that entertains and informs. The narrative begins with Chen's life as a child in China and then quickly transitions to her early adulthood as she marries, has children, and moves to the United States, eventually settling in Cambridge, MA. The text gently touches on the Chinese Communist Revolution: "The heart of China split in two." (This may prompt students to ask about Chen's family leaving China, but further information about the time period can be found in the time line in the back matter.) Her name change is also glossed over. Chen would go on to first popularize Chinese cuisine in her community through a restaurant and then in the larger United States through a cookbook and TV show. A recipe for making dumplings at home is also included in the back matter. Fans of Lynne Barasch's Hiromi's Hands, Susanna Reich's Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat, and Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee's Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix will find much to enjoy here.
VERDICT Though picture book biographies with a culinary theme are many, Clickard's title is a charming addition.

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