Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang, illustrated by Charlene Chua
Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao by Kat Zhang,
illustrated by Charlene Chua
Review Copy from Simon & Schuster
Bao (which Amy's cat show readers how to pronounce before the start) are "soft and fluffy and so, so delicious," and they are also an all-day family project. But Amy cannot seem to make the perfect bao. Sometimes she adds too much filling or too little or she doesn't pinch them closed enough or she pinches them too much and the filling comes out. As she sits at the kitchen table with her mom, dad and pink-haired grandma, readers see Amy try and try again, working hard to make that perfect bao as everyone else turns them out left and right. Her family offers advice and instruction, but Amy is clearly getting frustrated.
About to give up, Amy realizes something very important - the pieces of dough are cut for grown-up hands, not Amy-sized hands! Whispering her idea to grandma, the dough is cut down to a smaller size and - surprise - Amy makes the PERFECT BAO! Amy waits for her perfect (and imperfect) bao to steam and they all turn out "soft and fluffy and so, so delicious." The final spread shows Amy sharing her perfect and imperfect bao with her friends at school. Zhang generously includes "Amy's Family Recipe" and guide to making bao at the back of the book, all of which is extremely hard to read without getting hungry.
Zhang has written a book that shows readers what determination, ingenuity and innovation look like in the life of a kid. Her solution to Amy Wu's problem is very authentic and one that will truly resonate with kids. Having few (to none, to be honest) students with Chinese heritage, I am excited to read Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao to my students and watch a video of some family bao making along with a discussion of foods that their families make together!