What’s in a Dumpling, Grandma? by Linda Meeker is a charming picture book about a Vietnamese American family. Exploring the themes of culture, family, tradition and heritage, this cute little book makes for a memorable reading. Sandra Eide’s illustrations convey the story with equal warmth and comfort.
Grey and his cousin Mila spend the day with their grandmother, and learn how to make bánh loc, Vietnamese dumplings. Grandma shares the recipe with them while narrating stories of her childhood and memories of her grandmother.
The pacing varies and smaller children might struggle with the information dump. The story progresses in an evocative manner, and the dialogues provide a glimpse of culture and family traditions.
Meeker has depicted the beautiful bond between Grandma and the children in an endearing manner. I loved how they all cooked the dumplings together, with Grey overcoming his fears and even enjoying the process. Grandma’s honest revelation about her first experience was a heartwarming touch.
The author has used a few Vietnamese words in the story and has mentioned them at the beginning, with meaning and pronunciation.
The book is meant for 4–8-year-olds. Though the vocabulary is simple, I feel early readers might find independent reading a challenge because of the large word count on most of the pages. Also, the font size could have been bigger.
What’s in a Dumpling, Grandma? Is a beautiful book about cooking, traditions, family, culture, and creating joyful memories.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and Thomas Nelson. This review reflects my honest and voluntary opinion.
Wordsopedia Rating 4.5/5
|Title: What’s in a Dumpling, Grandma?||Author: Linda Meeker|
|Publisher: Thomas Nelson||Publication date: 07 Nov 2023|
|Genre: Fiction—Children’s||Format: eBook|
|ISBN: 9781400244225||No. of Pages: 40|
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About the author
Linda Meeker is a first-generation Vietnamese American author. Her first book, Thank You, Mama, was based on the videos of her son, Grey, trying new foods with gratitude, which brought her social media popularity on TikTok and Instagram (@greyandmama). Linda, her husband, and Grey live in Seattle, Washington.