Our Little Kitchen
by Tamaki, Jillian

"A crew of resourceful neighbors comes together to prepare a meal for their community. Includes a recipe and an author's note about the volunteering experience that inspired the book"-

Jillian Tamaki is an illustrator, author, and comics artist living in Toronto, Ontario. She is the co-creator, with her cousin Mariko Tamaki, of the young adult graphic novel This One Summer, which won a Caldecott Honor in 2015. She makes books and comics for people of all ages, including They Say Blue, a picture book about looking and thinking.

*Starred Review* This loving ode to community takes place in a lively, busy kitchen, where a group of neighbors works diligently and happily together to create a meal out of whatever they happen to have. A bouncy, rhythmic text offers a narrative, but more often than not, it's shouldered out of the way by Tamaki's enthusiastic artwork, expressive speech balloons, and jostling ribbons of noisy onomatopoeia. Images of vegetables, grains, broth, and cooking utensils spill and swirl across the pages as the kitchen crew "chop chop chop chop chop," "splash," "squish," and "sizzzzzzzzle," sometimes with the ingredients surreally dwarfing the people, all in service of a hearty homemade meal. A page spread of frenzied last-minute questions set against a bright-red background will ring true for anyone who's helped make a meal for a crowd-especially the relief and calm once everyone's finally sitting down together and eating companionably. The cast is realistically varied in skin tone, body size, age, and ability, and they treat each hungry guest with welcoming warmth. While not every kid has the experience of participating in a community kitchen, the sense of fellowship around making and sharing food is sure to hit home, and the undercurrent here-that not everyone can get the food they need-is an important reminder. A couple of simple, largely visual recipes are a delicious bonus. Grades K-3. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

We come together to feed our own in this upbeat picture book. Tamaki's latest is a delight for the senses, bursting with bright colors, enticing scents, and effervescent prose. There's not really a story here, nor much gastronomic wisdom—and that's precisely the point. Instead, readers shadow a diverse group of people who come together every Wednesday to prepare a meal for their neighbors using whatever materials are at hand. Their garden is far from perfect, but it yields plenty of produce; leftovers and community contributions fill in the gaps. Whether donated, grown, or saved from the fridge, all foodstuffs are welcome—this is no place for premium ingredients or brand names! The kitchen's warmth emanates not only from the oven, but from the cacophony of voices and cascade of culinary noises sustaining it. It's a place for gratitude and camaraderie, not gripes and complaints—a disposition evident in Tamaki's singsong, occasionally rhyming first-person plural prose. Onomatopoeic actions—"glug glug glug / CHOPCHO PCHOP / Sizzzzzzzzle"—and volunteers' hearty exclamations pop in spreads characterized by Tamaki's trademark fluidity and playfulness. Nib-and-ink linework swooshes across the pages, emulating the controlled frenzy and depicting a thoughtfully diverse cast of warmhearted people. Endpapers offer simple recipes for vegetable soup and apple crumble; adults familiar with Lucy Knisley and Samin Nosrat will swoon at the sight of these graphically rendered recipes. An author's note explains the real-life experience that inspired the project. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8-by-21-inch double-page spreads viewed at 53% of actual size.) Simply delectable! (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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