Dumpling Dreams: How Joyce Chen Brought the Dumpling from Beijing to Cambridge

Carrie Clickard, illus. by Katy Wu. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-6707-0

Joyce Chen (born in Beijing in 1917 as Liao Jia-ai) made a name for herself in Cambridge, Mass., and later across the U.S. through her restaurants, cookbooks, and TV show, Joyce Chen Cooks. In chirpy couplets, Clickard follows Chen’s childhood infatuation with cooking, her later move to the U.S. with her husband and growing family, and her expanding culinary empire. Wu’s brightly colored digital artwork maintains a cheerful mood, even during moments of nervousness or uncertainty. The clipped verse can’t always do justice to major events in Chen’s life (“Troubles come. War in the news./ The heart of China split in two./ Days of worry, nights of fear—/ even dumplings taste of tears”), but a detailed timeline fills in some context, along with other resources. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Tricia Lawrence, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Jennifer Mattson, Andrea Brown Literary. (Sept.) [/em]