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  • Writer's pictureJulie Hauswirth

Haus-hold Picture Book Review: Tricky Chopsticks

A Tale of Problem-Solving and Perseverance


Cover of the picture book Tricky Chopsticks. A girl with a surprised expression struggles to hold a dumpling between two chopsticks.

I've been eagerly awaiting the release of Tricky Chopsticks by Sylvia Chen and Fanny Liem since early 2023. I attended my very first PBParty Zoom and learned about Sylvia Chen's success story and the way her story evolved on her journey to publication. The premise delighted me: it was fun, clever, and unique, and featured a female STEM-minded main character. I was hooked and pre-ordered this book as soon as it came available.


Well my friends, the time has finally come! Tricky Chopsticks publishes on March 19th, and Chen and Liem don't disappoint. This book is packed full of fun onomatopoeia (in both English and Mandarin), inviting illustrations, and patient persistence. Both of my children enjoyed reading this one: the toddler is actually pretty darn good with chopsticks already, and the big guy is not. They both got a kick out of Jenny's journey to chopsticks success.

Jenny is a main character with agency, and her journey to becoming a master of chopsticks models critical thinking, creativity, and perseverance.

Synopsis


Jenny Chow struggles with chopsticks. Determined to successfully participate in her family's annual chopsticks challenge, Jenny uses trial-and-error to devise a STEM-inspired solution that just might do the trick.


My Kiddos' Honest Review:

Haus-hold picture book review kid questionnaire for Tricky Chopsticks. The words that describe this book are: Funny, Big Feelings. The ending... Felt just right. What stood out to you the most? Words, Characters. Did you like it or love it? I loved it! What was your favorite thing about this book? The fun words like "b-b-bung-bunng!"

What my Kids Loved: Both of my kids loved the onomatopoeia in this story. These words pop off the page in English and Mandarin, and we had so much fun reading the story aloud. They connected with Jenny and her struggle with chopsticks; the oldest has pretty much given up trying to use them and resorts to stabbing his food, while the youngest just doesn't have the fine motor skills yet (though honestly, he has a better grip on chopsticks than his brother does).


What I Loved: As a storyteller, there's so much to appreciate in Chen's craft. I loved the strong opening and how she establishes the problem right away, pulling the reader in and giving us a reason to turn the page and keep reading. Her use of onomatopoeia has strong kid appeal and makes the book fun for parents to read aloud. And she uses Jenny's vulnerability and determination to connect with kids and add a layer of meaning to the story. I also love the way Liem's illustrations bring the main character to life through her expressions and body language.


As a mom, I loved that this book caught- and held- my children's attention right away. Jenny is a main character with agency, and her journey to becoming a master of chopsticks models critical thinking, creativity, and perseverance. I love introducing my kids to characters who are relatable and find creative ways to solve their problems.


My favorite lines:


She still couldn’t shake her shame from the last

Chopsticks Chow-llenge with . . .

oodles of noodles,

dozens of dumplings, and

even burgers and fries!


What if she fumbled forever?


Final thoughts: While my kids aren't entering any chopsticks challenges, they absolutely have skills they want or need to master. Books like Tricky Chopsticks are a great way to remind our kids that solving our problems can take time and persistence.


You can purchase Tricky Chopsticks from Simon & Schuster or from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers- but don't forget to check your local independent bookstore first!


And if you do grab a copy, be sure to leave a review!

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4件のコメント


Thelia Hutchinson
Thelia Hutchinson
3月17日

Great review. Wonderful job, Sylvia.

いいね!

Laura Roettiger
Laura Roettiger
3月17日

Great review! I love your "According to the kids" section! I'm looking forward to this one too. Congratulations, Sylvia and Fanny.

いいね!

Sylvia Chen
Sylvia Chen
3月16日

Oh Julie, thank you SO very much for such a glowing review. I absolutely adore your review style and feel extremely honored that you chose to highlight what you (and your kids!) love about TRICKY CHOPSTICKS. I'm totally thrilled that you all love it so much. THANK YOU!!! 😍💖

いいね!

Bri Lawyer
Bri Lawyer
3月16日

Thanks for sharing, Julie! Can't wait to hear Sylvia read this book in Storytime Sprint! 😊

いいね!
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