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The Ugly Vegetables
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The Ugly Vegetables
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In this charming story about celebrating differences a Chinese-American girl wishes for a garden of bright flowers instead of one full of bumpy, ugly, vegetables. The neighbors' gardens look so much...
In this charming story about celebrating differences a Chinese-American girl wishes for a garden of bright flowers instead of one full of bumpy, ugly, vegetables. The neighbors' gardens look so much...
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Description-

  • In this charming story about celebrating differences a Chinese-American girl wishes for a garden of bright flowers instead of one full of bumpy, ugly, vegetables. The neighbors' gardens look so much prettier and so much more inviting to the young gardener than the garden of "black-purple-green vines, fuzzy wrinkled leaves, prickly stems, and a few little yellow flowers" that she and her mother grow. Nevertheless, mother assures her that "these are better than flowers." Come harvest time, everyone agrees as those ugly Chinese vegetables become the tastiest, most aromatic soup they have ever known. As the neighborhood comes together to share flowers and ugly vegetable soup, the young gardener learns that regardless of appearances, everything has its own beauty and purpose.
    THE UGLY VEGETABLES springs forth with the bright and cheerful colors of blooming flowers and lumpy vegetables. Grace Lin's playful illustrations pour forth with abundant treasures. Complete with a guide to the Chinese pronunciation of the vegetables and the recipe for ugly vegetable soup! Try it . . . you'll love it, too!

About the Author-

  • Grace Lin grew up in Upstate New York with her parents and two sisters. While the other sisters became scientists, Grace became an artist.
    After attending the Rhode Island School of Design, Grace quickly set out to achieve her dream of creating children's books. Grace has written and illustrated several books for children, including THE UGLY VEGETABLES, OUR SEASONS, DIM SUM FOR EVERYONE!, and OLIVINA FLIES. Grace lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 28, 1999
    In this debut children's book, a girl and her mother chart their own course in spring planting--and reap the benefits. The girl narrator is clearly disappointed when, unlike her neighbors who prepare flower gardens, she and her mother plant Chinese vegetables that, her mother insists, are "better than flowers." While the other backyards yield colorful blooms, her garden becomes crowded with "ugly vegetables," lumpy, bumpy and "icky yellow." But when the girl's mother uses them to make a soup, its "magical aroma" attracts neighbors to their door--carrying bouquets of flowers from their gardens. Though the pacing of the text is a bit uneven, the mother's confidence in the garden's success and Lin's message of community togetherness buoy up the narrative. A charming, childlike quality infuses the artwork; boldly hued gouache pictures feature skies and lawns as patterned as the girl's kitchen wallpaper and curtains. For ambitious young gardeners and would-be chefs, an illustrated glossary of the vegetables and their Chinese characters along with a soup recipe conclude the volume. Ages 3-8.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 1999
    K-Gr 3 -A Chinese-American girl and her mother grow a vegetable garden in a neighborhood where everyone else grows flowers. The girl thinks their plants are ugly compared to flowers, but soon learns that vegetables can make a very delicious soup one that the whole neighborhood wants to try. Soon everyone is growing Chinese vegetables as well as flowers. A recipe for "Ugly Vegetable Soup" is included. Lin's brightly colored gouache illustrations perfectly match her story, creating a patchwork-quilt effect as the neighbors' backyards all converge. Families of all kinds engage in all sorts of activities while children play happily together. Each double-page spread is a different color with a different pattern scattered lightly across it, serving as a frame for the illustrations and as background for the text. A lovely, well-formatted book with an enjoyable multicultural story. Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA

    Copyright 1999 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    October 15, 1999
    Ages 3^-5. "Benny thinks everything's the pits." So begins this fanciful yet on-target look into the thinking of preschoolers. Benny, a piglet, doesn't like his mother trying to arrange his things, he refuses her suggestion of a bath, and he's furious that she wants to wash his doll, Little Piggy. So he stomps out. Can he live with the man in the hot dog stand? No. Other options also fade. Finally, he wallows in the mud, until a man runs him off. But Benny has left Little Piggy behind, and his traumatic journey to find the toy makes him realize home is not the pits after all. The book's quirky humor is what sets the rather commonplace plot apart. For instance, it isn't Benny's toys Mother arranges, but his sticks and potatos. This fun is also carried out in the pen-and-watercolor art, as Benny scowls, grumps, sighs, and finally smiles. Maybe it's the book's Swedish origins, but Benny, wandering alone, seems unusually free, even for a character in a story. What rings very true is Benny's temper and, equally, his realization that home is a warm, safe place to be. ((Reviewed October 15, 1999))(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 1999, American Library Association.)

Title Information+

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    Charlesbridge
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