Magic Ramen: The Story of Momofuku Ando

illus. by Kana Urbanowicz. 40p. little bee. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781499807035.
RedReviewStarK-Gr 3—When Momofuku Ando sees long lines of people waiting for food near his home in Osaka, Japan, shortly after World War II, his dream is born: to create the perfect bowl of noodles to feed hungry communities around the world. Realizing that "the world is peaceful only when everyone has enough to eat," he spends months testing recipes for the ideal noodle soup: tasty, perfectly seasoned, comforting, and preparable "anytime, anywhere." Each attempt at the perfect bowl of soup yields a different result: noodles that are too soggy, too brittle, or too soft. Despite personal and financial setbacks, he keeps the needs of the hungry and disenfranchised always at the center of his mission as he aims to maximize nutrition and nourishment. After trying and failing several times over, his "magic ramen" recipe is finally born: a perfectly fried noodle-broth combination that can be made in minutes by simply adding water. His invention is a success, making ramen a worldwide sensation and recognized household favorite. The author's tribute to one of history's most important inventors is complemented by digital illustrations, which separate well-paced text and add strong visual appeal to this exceptional biography picture book. An afterword is provided, giving readers additional insight into Ando's life and legacy and its connection to food history and popular culture, especially the creation of the widely recognizable Cup Noodles.
VERDICT An inspiring story of persistence and an ideal purchase for any collection.–Natalie Romano, Denver Public Library

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