Book: Measuring Up (2020)
Author: Lily LaMotte
Illustrator: Ann Xu
Genre: MG, Contemporary/Graphic Novel
Basic plot: Cici misses her grandmother, A-má, who lives all the way in Taiwan. When she sees a kids’ cooking contest, she hopes she has what it takes to win because that prize money would be perfect to buy that plane ticket for A-má. During the contest, she’s teamed up with a girl named Miranda. Soon, Cici begins to doubt her ability to cook and turns to learn from watching the great Julia Child on TV. As one contestant after another is eliminated, Cici soon realizes that she’ll soon be competing against her teammate.
Opening lines from the book …
My life in Taiwan is sweet. My favorite is mango flavor but Siu-Lian and Siu-Khing always get Lychee. We never get tired of watching the panda… or running on the Dragon Bridge… but A-má is the best part.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…
1) Cici is such a likable character! I love her connection to her grandmother and how she decides to do something about the fact that they live so far apart.
2) The cooking part of the story was really fun. Seeing Miranda and Cici come up with their amazing culinary delights made me hungry to do a taste test! And ditto for when Cici is experimenting with Julia Child’s recipes.
3) I like the relationship that develops between Cici and Miranda. They don’t quite start off on the right foot. And, let’s face it, Miranda is a bit of a know-it-all. But Cici does take this as an opportunity to learn from her (because Miranda does actually know a lot about cooking). But in the end, Cici decides to take a risk that would go against some of Miranda’s “expertise”. I loved that Cici was able to see where her own “expertise” clicks in.
4) Now for the three judges! If you’ve seen any reality show that involves judges, you will know there’s always that one judge. In this case, it’s the bald one, Mr. Bonze. I loved his little snarky remarks, although I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of them. And nor did I want Cici to be criticized either! But as a reader, he did add a little spice and drama.
5) I loved how Cici’s mentor becomes TV’s Julia Child! The montage where Cici is trying to flip the potato pancakes is great. Courage and conviction!
6) Ultimately, I loved how Cici brings her A-má’s Taiwanese cooking into the story. While it’s nice to see Cici branch out with other foods, it was even nicer to see her embrace the simplicity of her heritage. And be able to come up with her own modifications to old recipes.
7) I thought the graphic novel format worked really well for this book.
THINGS THAT BOTHERED ME…
1) Not much to report here.
Such a fun book! I won it in a giveaway contest by Completely Full Bookshelf! Yay! I really did enjoy it and would recommend it for anybody who enjoys watching those cooking shows or competitions.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday…