THE UGLY DUMPLING by Stephanie Campisi
Kirkus Star


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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A bright, multicultural twist on a classic tale.

At a local dim sum restaurant, a tiny dumpling sits, sad and alone. Although it is quite an adorable little ball of dough, it does not look like any of the other dumplings. It tries everything it can think of to fit in, even wearing pleated pants to mimic the others’ wrinkly exteriors, but nothing works. It is always pushed to the side—until a cockroach sees it and falls in love. The cockroach takes the dumpling on an incredible adventure through the restaurant, scaling tall mountains of flour, surfing down a splash of tea, and gazing at the blazing sunset (or fire from a wok). The dumpling learns of beauty and acceptance. But then the dumpling sees something else. Other dumplings! That look exactly like it! They are not, in fact, dumplings at all, but steamed buns. The dumpling finally finds its place in the world. But how will the cockroach fit in? Specifically told without gendered pronouns, this is simply a story about love. Kober’s illustrations are characterized by delicious changes in perspective, and Campisi’s sly, humorous asides ensure that the message of identity is not heavy-handed: “The ugly dumpling was overjoyed. / It puffed with meaning. / It puffed with importance / and yeast.

Quirky retellings often lean on clever titles alone, but this surpasses and delights. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 7th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-938063-67-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Mighty Media
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2016


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