slurping up two noodly picture books

Shanghai Noodles via The Daring Gourmet

by Janet S. Wong

Noodles for breakfast,
Noodles for lunch,
Noodles for dinner,
Noodles that crunch,
Noodles to twirl,
Noodles to slurp–
I could eat noodles
all day! Burp!

~ from Good Luck Gold (© 1994 Janet S. Wong). All rights reserved.

Pardon my burp, but I’ve just polished off a bowl of warm, steamy ramen — really hits the spot on a rainy Spring afternoon. Just like Janet, I love noodles at any time, any place; even just seeing the word “noodle” makes me happy.

Whether you’re talking about ramen, pho, guksu, pancit, lo mein, wonton, udon, yakisoba, saimin, japchae, chow fun, dandan, somen or any form of pasta — it’s all good. There’s nothing more comforting or satisfying than slurping up those long chewy strands of goodness with gravy, sauce or soup.

Saimin via The Tasty Island

It’s almost like every time I eat a noodle dish I’m tasting part of my childhood — a savory bowl of saimin with teriyaki barbecue sticks at the Fred Wright Park carnival, Crispy Gau Gee Mein from Waimalu Chop Suey, cold guksu with my two grandmas at Seoul Inn, somen salad at beach picnics, or the wonderful Chinese noodles with char siu and vegetables my Auntie Ellen always made for family holiday potlucks. And how could I forget those simple but restorative bowls of chicken noodle soup my mom ladled out whenever I was sick?

Since March is National Noodle Month, I thought it would be fun to look at two recently published noodle picture books. Both are steeped in Chinese culture, both feature a young girl named “Mei” learning about noodles from an elder, and in both stories noodles are an important part of a birthday celebration. Grab your chopsticks and let’s start slurping!

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friday feast: kate coombs on water sings blue


Big heartfelt congratulations to Kate Coombs, everyone’s favorite Book Aunt, on the official release this week of Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems (Chronicle Books, 2012)!

This book is an absolute stunner — perhaps you’ve already read Marjorie’s fine review at Paper Tigers, or have seen the *starred* reviews from Kirkus or Publishers Weekly, which praises Kate’s “surprising personification and unexpected imagery.” This wholly captivating, gorgeously illustrated collection of lyrical, whimsical, and wistful poems will charm and delight readers of all ages, and is easily my favorite poetry book of 2012 thus far, and I dare say, one of the finest themed poetry collections for children ever. It’s a superb example of poetry as art, art as poetry.

We’ve got a real treat today, because Kate has graciously agreed to tell us about the genesis of Water Sings Blue, as well as share a little backstory for six sample poems. So,  get comfy under your beach umbrella, listen to the waves breaking on the shore, dig your toes in the sand, and let the wonder of these poems wash over you.


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