Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao

Aladdin. Oct. 2019. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534411333.
PreS-Gr 2–Amy loves “soft and fluffy and so, so delicious” bao. She can (and sometimes does) eat them nonstop. Making bao is an all-day affair with Dad making the dough, Mom seasoning the meat, and everyone putting them together. Mom and Dad and Grandma make perfect bao, but Amy cannot do it—hers are too big or too small, have too much stuffing or not enough, or just plain fall apart. (At least they still taste good.) After another frustrating bao-making day, Amy has an idea to fix the problem. Adults readers take note—her solution will also work for young readers who want to try the recipe included in the back. Chua’s brightly colored full-page digital illustrations capture Amy’s exuberant approach to life and her bao-making despair. Font size changes, coupled bolded words and phrases, add even more pep to Zhang’s spirited text that’s sure to please storytime and one-on-one audiences. Those who aren’t already bao connoisseurs will understand the childhood frustration of struggling with a much-desired skill.
VERDICT A delightful story about a determined girl not letting her age and size keep her from mastering a delicious talent. Be prepared for hungry readers.

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