The title refers to a dish of rice, egg strips, vegetables and meat that's a staple of Korean family life—and it's a lot of fun to eat, too, because diners get to mix the parts together themselves right at the table. (The words in Korean mean, loosely, "mix-mix rice.") The title also inspires some bouncy rhymes from Park (A Single Shard
), and loving depictions of the joys of being mom's sous-chef from South Korean artist Lee. First, the necessary supplies are laid in: "Hurry, Mama, hurry/ Gotta shop shop shop!/ Hungry hungry hungry/ for some bee-bim bop!
" A flurry of rice-making, chopping and frying follows. The entire family, including a grandmother in traditional dress, gathers to say grace and dig in: "Rice goes in the middle/ Egg goes right on top / Mix it!
/ Mix like crazy!
/ Time for bee-bim bop!
" Lee's characterizations don't have much texture or depth, but he does a terrific job of framing the kitchen activity from a variety of angles, so that every scene bubbles with fun and anticipation (he also frequently crops Mama at the shoulders, to keep the focus on the eager, helpful narrator). The mood is so unabashedly happy and Park's text is so catchy that any grown-up reading this book aloud should anticipate a demand to make the detailed, kid-friendly recipe for Bee-Bim Bop on the final spread. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)