Eaters of all ages will enjoy learning about the history of this popular food gone global.

MAGIC RAMEN

THE STORY OF MOMOFUKU ANDO

The true story of Momofuku Ando, who persevered to invent a speedy, nutritious, and tasty ramen to help feed the hungry in post–World War II Japan.

A year after the war ended, people were still starving for food. Realizing that the “world is peaceful only when everyone has enough to eat,” Ando decided to make food his life’s work. In a backyard shed, Ando attempted to realize his dream of a more nutritious ramen. He experimented by adding different ingredients to a basic recipe of flour, salt, and water: eggs, powdered milk, and even spinach! He invented a way to infuse the noodles with flavor, but the noodles were still too tough. Then, watching his wife make tempura gave him a brilliant idea—fry the noodles! Frying creates tiny holes in the noodles, causing them to soften after just a few minutes in hot water. Voilà: tender, chewy noodles in hot, tasty soup that was ready in two minutes! With an aesthetic that’s straight out of a Hayao Miyazaki animated film, Urbanowicz’s illustrations pair deliciously with Wang’s concise, conversational text. Clever use of lighting, white space, and comic-book compositions moderate pacing in all the right places. The illustrator earns brownie points for accurate cultural details: geta (wooden sandals), cascading cherry blossoms, kanji characters, etc.

Eaters of all ages will enjoy learning about the history of this popular food gone global. (biographical note) (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-499-80703-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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