A local school was purchasing a few titles for their library. I was unaware of the picture books Dumplings for Lili and La Princessa and the Pea. Therefore, I gave them a quick peak when they came in. Both were two of the sweetest books I have read all year! (Okay, got the year joke out early.) These two books are a modern fairytale and a reimaging of a classic.
Dumplings for Lili by Melissa Iwai is a lovely, illustrated book about a young girl and the grandmothers in her life. The apartment complex Lili lives in houses many amazing people, all willing to help each other for a wonderful celebration. When Lili’s grandmother does not have an ingredient for the dumpling recipe they want to make, Lili runs to the elevator to find a neighbor who can help. The elevator is out of service, so Lili and her pup run upstairs. But when this grandmother is missing an item for her special dumplings, she starts all over, repeating the journey up and down several times. But fun twist happens to tie it all happily together. Each of the grandmothers is called by a different name, representing the culture (and food) they are from. There is a dumpling recipe included. A modern folktale with a Stone Soup feeling.
La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya and Juana Martinez-Neal is a delightful fun and charming illustrated story. This fantastic take on the Princess and the Pea tale, with a cultural Spanish twist. The book is bilingual (a few Spanish words are included, but I did not see a glossary to help define them. Yet it should be obvious what they mean, but maybe not how to pronounce) and clever. This book puts all the other Pea Princesses to shame. With a proactive Prince, a sweet, young Princess, and one heck of a Mother-in-Law to be, this story will have you laughing at the child friendly, but adult humor. The illustrations are colorful and appealing. Crowded details, but not overwhelming there is much to see and read. The culture comes alive while entertaining you as well. This is a must have for your library, classroom, and home collection.
These accidental finds are two I know I will be recommending and giving to everyone!