Books by Lillian Hsu-Flanders

DUMPLING SOUP by Jama Kim Rattigan
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

Each year, the women in Marisa's family, living in the Hawaiian islands, gather to prepare dumplings ("mandoo'') for the New Year's celebration—and this year Marisa is old enough to help. After she's wrapped her dumplings, she worries throughout the New Year's Eve festivities with her large clan (mostly Korean) that they aren't good enough; but then Grandma makes Marisa's dumplings a featured part of the first meal of the new year. It seems grudging to apply words like "didactic'' to such an openhearted exercise in multiculturalism, but the book's packaging—including a publisher's note explaining the importance of diversity—is so insistent that it nearly sinks the capable storytelling and illustration. Still, Rattigan's scenes of bustling domesticity have a cozy immediacy; Hsu-Flanders's watercolors joyfully crowd the small rooms of their Hawaiian home with happy relatives of all sizes, dressed in bright, patterned clothing (though only the narrator's hair style differentiates her from her cousins). Foreign words and phrases are readily decoded from context (except for a few food names); many also appear in a glossary of Hawaiian, Japanese, English, and Korean terms. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >