December 27, 2011

Read Up: Jojo Eats Dim Sum

Jojo is so lucky! She gets to have her favorite breakfast every Saturday.  It’s not pancakes she wants; she doesn’t care for cinnamon rolls or sugary cereals, either.  What Jojo loves to eat is dim sum!  I love dim sum, too, and I love the new book Jojo Eats Dim Sum, by James Kye.

The book is oversized: not wide, but extra-tall so it can accommodate large orders of dim sum and tall appetites. The super-sized pages let the reader’s eyes move hungrily around the page, taking in the food and the action--not to mention the delicious art.  Whimsically-drawn cartoon people interact with perfectly-photographed food, sharing space on pages where words grow and shrink as characters in their own right.  Together, author/illustrar Kye and designers Janet & Edwin McKelpin have created a work that’s exciting to look at, whether or not one can read the words on the page.

Jojo Eats Dim Sum packs a lot not just visually (and in the dim sum carts); there’s a lot going on in the story, too.  There’s the trip to the dim sum restaurant, with its particular atmosphere and foods; within that, we get subtle lessons on the Cantonese language, being willing to try new foods, and learning new cultures.  Something not put into words--but made clear to me in the illustrations--is that Jojo’s mother seems to think Father’s habit of reading the newspaper at the restaurant table is very rude.  I agree!

A newspaper, in case you are too young to remember, is what people utilized to ignore one another at meals before the smart phone was invented.

But I digress.

The way the book ends, and the way the its title is presented, lead me to believe that there may be more culinary adventures with Jojo to come.  That’s fine, but this single serving is satisfying all by itself, and I recommend it highly.
I want every single thing this lady has in her cart, and I want it right now, mm goi!

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