Measuring Up

HarperAlley. Oct. 2020. 208p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780062973870; pap. $12.99. ISBN 9780062973863.
Gr 3-7–Twelve-year-old Cici and her parents have moved from Taiwan to Seattle, leaving not only Cici’s friends behind but her beloved A-má as well. A-má, with whom Cici would visit the market every morning and practice cooking favorite recipes, is about to turn 70, and Cici’s biggest wish is for her grandmother to fly to Seattle and celebrate with the whole family. But how can they afford the expensive plane ticket? A potential solution appears in the form of a cooking contest at a local shop—Platinum Jr. Chef, featuring a $1,000 prize! But Cici wonders: Will the judges accept her Taiwanese cooking, or will she have to quickly learn American recipes? As she moves through the contest, Cici makes new friends, draws strength and inspiration from her family’s traditions and from lessons learned in her new home, and discovers the power of trusting her convictions. Cici is a plucky, bighearted protagonist, tackling head-on the many challenges her new circumstances throw at her, such as coping with a steady barrage of microaggressions, trying to fit in, and finding a way to reconcile the demands of American kid-hood with her parents’ hopes and expectations. Bright, full-color illustrations bring the story to life. Clean, expressive line drawings on simply colored backgrounds leave lots of room for the story’s big emotions, while also allowing for the delightful level of finer detail that is employed for the cooking sections.
VERDICT Purchase wherever feel-good family stories are in demand, and recommend especially to readers who love cooking-filled comics.

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