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by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore

illustrated by Kristi Valiant


School Library Journal:

PreS-Gr 3— When Cora’s Filipino family cooks together, she’s always stuck doing the “kid jobs.” Then one day when her older siblings are out and about, Cora gets her chance to bond with Mama in the kitchen. She even gets to choose her favorite dish, so the two of them make a large bowl of noodles, chicken, and vegetables called pancit. Clear expository prose explains how to perform kitchen tasks. For example, Mama tells Cora, “Open the package of rice noodles and put them in this bowl of water.” Then she engages her daughter by asking her, “Do you know why we soak them?” These scenes effectively model how adults can introduce children to cooking. The simple, direct style also makes the book equally well suited as a read-aloud and for newly independent readers. The artwork nicely complements the text, as Valiant’s warm hues of gold, red, and orange highlight the family’s loving relationship. They also capture Cora’s feelings through facial expressions. Wide eyes and smiles show the child’s joy at cooking with her mother, while a downcast mouth and arched eyebrows illustrate her anxiety that her family won’t like her pancit . Although this dish is unique to Cora’s culture, children of all backgrounds will share her feelings at being allowed to help cook a meal for the first time. A solid choice for schools and public libraries, especially where family-based programming is popular.—Mary Landrum, Lexington Public Library, KY –Mary Landrum (Reviewed November 1, 2009) (School Library Journal, vol 55, issue 11, p83)


  • Asian Pacific American Award for Literature: Picture Book


1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, Ages 0-8, Family, Food and Drink, Kindergarten, Pre-Kindergarten