Lazo Gilmore, Dorina K., and Kristi Valiant. Cora Cooks Pancit. Walnut Creek, CA: Shen’s Books, 2009.
Books about food should always make one want to eat. The ability of any writer to communicate taste into adequate words is as much art as it is a skill. Another desirable outcome of food books is that one is driven to their own kitchen by an irresistible urge to follow in the footsteps of the cook/author. Sounds like a good movie?
Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore has created a children’s book that fulfills all of the above criteria and more. Not only has she created a book about cooking Filipino dishes, but she has shared a story that could have played itself out in kitchens around the world. The idea of daughters (and sons too) watching momma cook and getting to help as a rite of passage is very familiar. However, the connection to family history and one’s cultural heritage is not often so well connected.
That connection to culture is reinforced by Valiant’s illustrations that bring out the vivid colors of noodles, onions, and mushrooms simmering in a dish. Those colors, like the pleasant smells of the food, waft throughout the entire house and book.
Cora Cooks Pancit should appeal to a wide audience of educators, librarians, parents, and foodies. The multicultural aspects of the book and its ability to bring together family make it a necessary inclusion in early learning environments. Most of all, this book will appeal to kids who like to read and then do. Isn’t that the point?
5 out of 5
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