Measuring Up could cover several categories in cbr12bingo, but I am going to use it for Money. Even though the money aspect is a small part of the story, it is also not as small as it might seem at first.
Lily LaMotte’s story of Cici, a young girl from Taiwan, moves to Seattle, with her mother and father and leaving behind her beloved paternal grandmother. Her A-ma was more than a grandmother, she was a best friend, teacher and the one person who “got Cici” and her love of cooking. And even being different in Taiwan, let alone how “different” she seems in the US. But when it looks like they will not be together for A-ma’s 70th birthday (neither A-ma nor Cici’s family can afford it), Cici must find a clever way to make money to bring A-ma to the states. Hopefully without her father knowing so it can be a surprise. Hopefully it can show her father that Cici is more than “good grades” and understands her father’s needs more than he seems to understand hers. And she does this by secretly entering a cooking contest for kids (of course, Cici has to tell her mother as parental permission is needed). Here, she learns that she does not know everything about cooking, but neither does her new friend and cooking partner, Miranda (whose father is a chef at a famous locale restaurant). Along the way, both girls find inner strengths, understanding and more about themselves. They also learn about what they want vs. what their parents want for them.
It is a sweet story about family, balancing the old culture with a new one, food (lots of food), friendship and so much more. It is a cozy story without a lot of traditional action, but plenty going on. There is diversity, spunky characters and did I mention food? I really enjoyed that the family is from Taiwan and not a more “traditional” Asian country, such as China or Korea. Not that there is anything wrong with either country, I just liked how LaMotte “shook things up” by showing that there are other Asian peoples; and yet the immigrant’s story is not unique to one culture. Everyone deals with similar issues. As well as showing that there are more similarities than at first meet the eye between people.
I did not even mention Ann Xu’s illustrations! As my copy is a reader copy, they were not completed. But what was shown were perfectly complimenting the story without words. Colors and details mixed together help move Cici’s adventures along. They kept the theme flowing and helped the cozy, loving atmosphere that fills each page of this new middle grade graphic novel. Yet, all ages can find a little piece to nibble on.