Soul Food Sunday

Abrams. Sept. 2021. 48p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781419747717.
K-Gr 3–On Sundays everyone rolls up to Grandma’s house for a soul food feast of chicken, ribs and sausage, greens, mac ’n’ cheese, and sweet tea. Not so much a story as a slice of life, this vividly illustrated picture book welcomes readers into an extended family’s warm weekly ritual. Roles are divided by gender and age: Men watch football (apart from Grill Chef Roscoe Ray), women gather in the kitchen to prepare the food and set the table, and the kids play. This Sunday there’s a change, as the young male protagonist takes on the role of sous-chef to his grandmother, grating endless blocks of cheese for the baked macaroni, rinsing off the greens, prepping the raw meat for the grill, and finally making the pitcher of sweet iced tea all by himself. Esperanza’s brightly realistic oil paintings echo the warmth and humor in this extended family, and tantalize readers with images of the delicious food on the table. Each member of this Black family is individually characterized with fabulous hairstyles (Grandma’s cornrows are purple) and fantastic outfits that include Afrikan print aprons and elephant slippers. Readers will want to join this happy, hungry family and partake of this feast; Bingham allows for that by providing the recipe for a delicious cheesy dish as well as tips for cleaning the grit from the greens.
VERDICT A book that invites readers into an extended family’s moment in time, this welcoming title should be on any shelf addressing family life, celebrations, and food.–

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