BIG JIMMY’S KUM KAU CHINESE TAKE OUT by Ted Lewin

BIG JIMMY’S KUM KAU CHINESE TAKE OUT

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In a fond salute, Lewin (Red Legs, p. 588, etc.) introduces readers to his favorite Chinese take-out place. It is a mood piece, striving for ambience rather than story line, and it succeeds admirably. The narrator is a young Chinese boy who takes readers through a day in his family’s Chinese restaurant, beginning with his own tour of duty carrying in supplies. A slew of uncles staffs the kitchen, chopping vegetables and meats, prepping for the lunchtime onslaught. “Chop! Chop! Chop! Dice and slice. Trim and dice. Slice and shred. Faster. Faster.” Lewin’s watercolors work wonders with the tight but electric bustle of the men as they respond to the gathering mayhem of lunch orders. Filling the pages with activity, he leaves borders of space for the text, which reflects the varying colors of the food and interior lights when the pictures are inside and are in black when the ordinary outside world is the scene. Then there are the regulars (including the handsome illustrator), whose orders are shouted into the kitchen without them even having to open their mouths. All day, the little boy pitches in to help, folding menus, packing take-out bags, and passing along orders. In a wonderfully abrupt turn, Lewin closes the long day at the restaurant with the narrator enjoying his favorite food—a slice of pizza. Finally, Lewin himself prepares to eat his favorite dish and offers the recipe, except for the “special secret sauce.” Everyone loves take-out food. And everyone ought to love this, from its menu on the endpapers to the aromas that fairly rise off the page. Readers won’t just drink in its transporting atmosphere, but will soon be on their way to their nearest Chinese community to taste the very air as well as the food. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-688-16026-3
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2001




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