Ten Little Dumplings

Tundra. Jan. 2021. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780735266193.
K-Gr 3–In a Chinese village lives a family with 10 sons. The parents call them their little dumplings because they are round and because they are special. They are special because they are boys. The ten dumplings play together, go to school together, learn art, do sports, and all grow into successful young men. It isn’t until almost two dozen pages into the story that the narrator reveals herself: their sister! Being the girl of the family means she has been virtually invisible. According to an author’s note, the story is based on Fan’s father. He was one of ten brothers, and the author did not know he had a sister for many years. Wume’s ink and pencil drawings are colorful and detailed. Each of the ten little dumplings has a distinct personality, as do all the characters in the book, and Wume has done a brilliant job at blending the “hidden” sister into the backgrounds of the images. Only the most eagle-eyed reader will spot her on first read-through; after a first reading, onlookers will want to flip back through and find that she was there all along.
VERDICT A sincere and beautiful story for all ages, and one that can gently introduce a serious discussion topic of rank and gender for older readers.

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