cover image The Perfect Sushi

The Perfect Sushi

Emily Satoko Seo, illus. by Mique Moriuchi. Barefoot, $16.99 (24p) ISBN 978-1-6468-6837-7

A Japanese child’s desire to get things just right for her grandmother’s birthday becomes a lesson in what truly matters in Seo’s quietly heartfelt story. Wanting to make “the perfect sushi” for her sushi-adoring grandmother, perfectionist Miko—who “always paints inside the lines”—begins rolling rice balls, but finds that, despite her practice, “not a single piece” passes muster. Asking her grandfather for help and tying on a hachimaki, she follows his lead, but her result remains lopsided. The result? “She steams up like a rice cooker” and goes in search of perfect sushi elsewhere. As step-by-step text replicates onomatopoeia (“kuru kuru kuru... koro koro koro”), Moriuchi’s fetching cut-paper and gouache collage is in keeping with the handmade-is-best theme—though the sharp-edged style reproduces sushi to a mouthwatering degree, its charm lies in its imperfections. A glossary and recipe conclude. Ages 4–9. (Apr.)