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

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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019


Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude.

A deceptively simple, visually appealing, comprehensive explanation of volcanoes.

Gibbons packs an impressive number of facts into this browsable nonfiction picture book. The text begins with the awe of a volcanic eruption: “The ground begins to rumble…ash, hot lava and rock, and gases shoot up into the air.” Diagrams of the Earth’s structural layers—inner and outer core, mantle, and crust—undergird a discussion about why volcanoes occur. Simple maps of the Earth’s seven major tectonic plates show where volcanoes are likeliest to develop. Other spreads with bright, clearly labeled illustrations cover intriguing subtopics: four types of volcanoes and how they erupt; underwater volcanoes; well-known volcanoes and historic volcanic eruptions around the world; how to be safe in the vicinity of a volcano; and the work of scientists studying volcanoes and helping to predict eruptions. A page of eight facts about volcanoes wraps things up. The straightforward, concise prose will be easy for young readers to follow. As always, Gibbons manages to present a great deal of information in a compact form.

Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude. (Nonfiction picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4569-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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