Our Little Kitchen
Our Little Kitchen
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Annotation: A lively celebration of food and community from Caldecott Honoree Jillian Tamaki Tie on your apron Roll up your sleeves ... more
Catalog Number: #239044
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-419-74655-3
ISBN 13: 978-1-419-74655-0
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2020011253
Dimensions: 21 x 28 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Our narrator explains, with great enthusiasm and gusto, how "every Wednesday, we come together in this little kitchen" to prepare a communal meal for all who are hungry. Meal prep begins with "what we've got": veggies (some quite imperfect) from the urban garden; whatever's in the fridge ("OH! -- Dunno what this is, but it's GOTTA GO!"); day-old bread; "beans from the food bank? Third week in a row! But it's what we've got, we'll use 'em somehow." A sense of effervescent improvisation pervades the tale, through its cookery details and the text's rhythm and design. We see frequent shifts between main text and dialogue, with speech bubbles barely containing the conversational chatter and even intersecting during "cooperative overlap" (a.k.a. interrupting). Yummy sound effects abound -- the rewarding, drawn-out "Slurp" near the end contains six Ss, six Ls, four Us, five Rs, and four Ps, all uppercase and of varying sizes. The illustrations themselves, "done with a nib and ink" and colored digitally, feature sure-handed black outlines, comics-style, around characters of all ages, shapes, races, religions, abilities, and genders, each of whom exudes vibrancy, warmth, individuality, and purpose. It's no surprise that, per the appended note, the story is based on Tamaki's experiences volunteering at a community kitchen in a gentrifying neighborhood -- with the joyful safe space of the dining room as succor for the longtime denizens: "See you next week!" The endpapers include recipes for vegetable soup (front) and apple crumble (back -- because dessert!). Elissa Gershowitz
Kirkus 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 / CHOPCHOPCHOP / 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)
Publishers Weekly
Tie on your apron!/ Roll up your sleeves!- Every Wednesday, an inclusive pickup team of volunteers-a short Black woman with a commanding presence and a cane, a white parent and small brown-skinned child, and more-gathers in a small community kitchen to prepare a weekly dinner for their neighbors, combining vegetables they harvest from a garden (-Look at these zukes!/ Let-s use them up too!-), food bank beans (-Third week in a row!-), and a donation of apples (-Cut off the brown bits,/ they-re still good to use-) for a simple, filling meal. Clear-line panel artwork by Tamaki (My Best Friend) gives the action superhero-grade visual power with swoops and swirls in swaths of tomato red, avocado green, and beet pink. Smells drift deliciously around the group-s noses, the chief cook tumbles through cascades of beans, and speech balloons collide like atoms. By making the collaborative meal preparation visually brilliant, Tamaki injects energy into this life-giving celebration. Then it-s go time--I mean it!- yells the crew-s leader-and a parade of food arrives in the dining room, where an equally diverse group of neighbors awaits. Pictures in speech balloons reveal conversations shared over the meal: books, hockey, a sore toe. The cooks can-t save the world alone, but by taking care of their neighbors (-Is your body warm?// Is your belly full?-) they convey the power of thrift, collective action, and community-building. Recipes for an elastic number of diners are included, too. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)

School Library Journal
Gr 13 One can almost smell it cooking, as the ingredients and steps for making vegetable soup precede a tantalizing swirl of steam that leads to the title page and introduction to a small community kitchen. Here friends of all ages and ethnicities come together in "our little kitchen, a tiny, small place" as all prep the kitchen to receive "what we've got, what we've grown." Soup, chili, apple crumble, salad, maybe warm bread? Varying sizes of detailed images include the effects of the cooking, a riot of fonts for the sizzle, chop, glug, slice, peel, trim, toss, splash, squish, and the microwave "beep," while many wait for the "15 minutes!" call to eat. Helpers serve as neighbors wait and treasure the joy of sharing in a time of need. Ending with a note describing the meeting of those facing struggle with an "arm-in-arm" effort, the book's crisp lines of graphic art, bold colors, speech bubbles, and varying perspectives encourage readers of this suggested general purchase title to jump from page to page with simple words and a busy, flowing visual. VERDICT Whether for appetizing story hours, classroom cooking, or inspiration to do good works, this book flows with a love for food and community. Mary Elam, Learning Media Services, Plano I.S.D., TX
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*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 pecially 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 at not everyone can get the food they need an important reminder. A couple of simple, largely visual recipes are a delicious bonus.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (7/1/20)
Starred Review for Horn Book (9/1/20)
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly (9/1/20)
Kirkus Reviews (9/1/20)
School Library Journal (9/1/20)
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: P-2

A lively celebration of food and community from Caldecott Honoree Jillian Tamaki Tie on your apron Roll up your sleeves Pans are out, oven is hot, the kitchen's all ready Where do we start? In this lively, rousing picture book from Caldecott Honoree Jillian Tamaki, a crew of resourceful neighbors comes together to prepare a meal for their community. With a garden full of produce, a joyfully chaotic kitchen, and a friendly meal shared at the table, Our Little Kitchen is a celebration of full bellies and looking out for one another. Bonus materials include recipes and an author's note about the volunteering experience that inspired the book.

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