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BOOK REVIEWS


From The Asian Reporter, V15, #41 (October 11, 2005), page 20.

Hungry hungry hungry

Bee-bim Bop!

By Linda Sue Park

Illustrations by Ho Baek Lee

Clarion Books, 2005

Hardcover, 32 pages, $15.00

By Josephine Bridges

From the grocery store to the dinner table, the young narrator of Bee-bim Bop! shares in rhyming ó and mouth-watering ó quatrains her infectious enthusiasm for the popular Korean dish which means "mix-mix rice."

"Mamaís knife is shiny

Slicing fast and neat

Garlic and green onions

Skinny strips of meat."

Eager to help out, the narrator has a little liquid mishap, but thereís no serious damage done, and she even cleans up without being asked. What a wonderful role model for young cooks she is.

"Sorry, Mama, sorry

Gotta mop mop mop

Hungry ó in a hurry

for some BEE-BIM BOP!"

Thereís a break in all the flurry as the family gives thanks for the wonderful meal they are about to eat, and Ho Baek Leeís accompanying illustration is perhaps the loveliest in the book, and far and away the most tranquil.

"Quiet for a moment

Papa says the grace

Everybody says "Amen"

A smile on every face."

Should you decide to try your hand at preparing this meal, thereís a recipe at the end of the book, complete with cooking instructions for both You and Grownup. "There are as many versions of bee-bim bop as there are families who cook it," writes the author. "This recipe is one that we make at home. Please donít let the number of steps scare you ó none of them are difficult."

Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park has worked as a food journalist and mentions food in almost everything she writes, but Bee-bim Bop! is her first book about cooking and eating. Letís hope itís not her last.

Ho Baek Lee is also an award winner, for While We Were Out, a New York Times Best Illustrated Childrenís Book of the Year 2003, which he wrote as well as illustrated. The way he captures the family dogís involvement in the preparation and consumption of bee-bim bop is particularly amusing.

Bee-bim Bop! was written for children ages four to seven, but thereís something in this book for anyone who likes food and family, and thatís just about all of us, isnít it?

"Rice goes in the middle

Egg goes right on top

MIX IT! MIX LIKE CRAZY!

Time for BEE-BIM BOP!"

Linda Sue Park will be in Portland on Tuesday, October 26 for two appearances. The 4:00pm event will be held at Annie Bloomís Books (7834 S.W. Capitol Hwy., Portland) and the 7:00pm appearance will be held at Barnes & Noble Jantzen Beach (1720 N. Jantzen Beach Center, Portland). The author will read, discuss, and sign copies of Bee-bim Bop! For information on the Annie Bloomís reading, call (503) 246-0053 or visit <www.annieblooms.com>. For information on the Barnes & Noble appearance, call (503) 283-2800.

To buy me, visit these retailers:

Powell's Books

  Amazon