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THE PERFECT SUSHI by Emily Satoko Seo


by Emily Satoko Seo ; illustrated by Mique Moriuchi

Pub Date: April 4th, 2023
ISBN: 9781646868377
Publisher: Barefoot Books

A young Japanese girl learns an important lesson while making sushi.

Miko, who has perfectionist tendencies, decides to hand-make sushi for her grandmother’s birthday. As she forms a ball out of rice and adds the fish, Miko realizes that her sushi doesn’t look right. She asks her grandfather for help, to which he replies, “Kokoro” (defined in the glossary as heart). Together they go through the steps, with Miko copying her grandfather. But her movements don’t look or even sound the same as her grandfather’s, and her sushi still comes out lopsided. Miko leaves and finds a shop, where she buys perfect sushi made by a robot. At the birthday party, Miko’s grandmother tastes the guests’ various homemade dishes, touching her heart each time—except when she tries the robot-made sushi, and Miko realizes a dish doesn’t need to look perfect; it needs to have kokoro, and she runs to get her homemade, imperfect sushi. This delightful story imparts a much-needed message: It truly is the thought that counts. Miko’s actions and emotions, especially her frustration, will strike a chord with little ones struggling to do new things. The story deftly incorporates elements of Japanese culture, such as language. The collage and acrylic artwork is colorful and vibrant, engaging readers and giving more context and cultural references. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet story that reminds readers to always put their hearts into whatever they do.

(sushi recipe, author’s and illustrator’s notes) (Picture book. 4-9)