This charmer of a story revolves around the construction of an oxtail stew as witnessed by Victoria, a loving granddaughter who knows how to keep a secret. Big Mama's daughters are attempting to make her stew, without her help, for a party in her honor that evening. But the stew's just not right, and Victoria watches as her mother and aunt decide first that dill, and then lemon pepper is needed. Before the stew is served up, others will have arrived with cumin, garlic powder, and red pepper. Then Victoria and Big Mama, alone in the kitchen, add one essential ingredient, sugar. English (NeenyComing, Neeny Going, 1996) does a fine job of getting right into Victoria's head as she experiences the push and pull of being a youngster among many adults, and she also conveys the pleasures of the banter and squabbling of a large family. Rich's illustrations add immeasurably to the mix, vividly depicting the gathering of big, bold personalities as the family converges on the pot of stew.