PICTURE BOOK REVIEW: Ramen for Everyone by Patricia Tanumihardja & Shiho Pate


Hiro loves ramen, especially with nori seaweed, nitamago egg, and tender chashu pork. But even more than he loves eating it, he longs to be able to make a perfect bowl like his father, grandfather, and great grandfather before him. Hiro watches his father and makes careful notes about how to complete each part of the process as his father chops, simmers, seasons, mixes, slices, and dips. After his seventh birthday, Hiro is excited to try cooking ramen for the first time with his father as assistant. But as so often happens the first time someone tries something, the broth isn't rich and flavorful (the boy's face in the illustrations as he tests it makes that clear), the noodles are squishy rather than soft and springy, and none of the toppings work out.  Hiro is heartbroken. But with some wise council from his father and some ingenuity, all is not lost, and a good meal can still be made despite not being perfect. Not only is this book adorable with the young boy imitating his father, but the themes of persistence and problem-solving are important ones for all ages. I also loved the idea of Hiro finding different toppings that match each of his family members tastes.  Pate's ink, pencil, and digital media illustrations wonderfully compliment Tanumihardja's very readable text. The text and pictures blend and work together just as the noodles and toppings of ramen itself do. Japanese The inclusion of additional information about the history of ramen as well as a recipe and some basic cooking rules make this a book that can be not only a delightful reading experience but a fun family activity as well. 


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