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Everybody Cooks Rice
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About the Author

Norah Dooley is a storyteller and children's author. Norah's widely acclaimed picture books, Everybody Cooks Rice, Everybody Bakes Bread, Everybody Serves Soup, and Everybody Brings Noodles, (Carolrhoda) are four titles in a series about her former neighborhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Norah has performed as a featured storyteller in the Cambridge River Festival, Newport Folk Festival, Albany NY River Festival, 3 Apples Storytelling Festival, Christmas and Spring Revels in Cambridge, and and at the Clearwater Festival. Norah presents workshops and stories for people of all ages throughout New England and also in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Phoenix. She has published six spoken word CDs, and she is the co-founder of massmouth.org, a 501c3 promoting the timeless art of storytelling through social media, education, and live performance. Norah was described as "an entrancing storyteller" by Scott Alarik in the Boston Globe.

Reviews

Carrie canvasses the neighborhood, trying to round up her younger brother in time for dinner. Every household she visits represents a different ethnic heritage--Fendra Diaz's grandmother lives in Puerto Rico, Madame Bleu hails from Haiti, the Huas have emigrated from China, etc. All the families are either preparing or consuming dinner, and Carrie discovers that despite divergent backgrounds, ``everybody cooks rice.'' The multicultural smorgasbord she samples includes rice and black-eyed peas from Barbados, biryani from India, Vietnamese nuoc cham . However correct politically, Dooley's first book is like food for an invalid: wholesome indeed but numbingly bland. Her plot unfolds in an atmosphere of vacant inevitability and her writing lacks style. Thornton's static illustrations, meanwhile, recall the false harmony of Sally, Dick and Jane. Recipes for the rice dishes are included, but most young readers will prefer to sink their teeth into a more highly seasoned story. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)

"This book is a clever--and delicious--way to show diversity and similarities among families."

Gr 2-4-- Carrie travels from one house to another, looking for her brother at dinnertime. Each family invites her in for a taste of what they are cooking; thus, she samples the ethnic diversity of her neighborhood through the rice dishes they prepare. At home, her own Italian family is indulging in risi e bisi . All the recipes are included at the end of the book. Thornton's illustrations have that flat, depthless look of primitive art. Colors are strong and brilliant primaries with very little black shading. The geometric forms displayed in the multihued houses of the street are especially nice. Yes, everybody cooks rice, and everybody eats rice--these commonalities do bring us together, a lesson worth repeating again and again. --Ruth Semrau, Lovejoy School, Allen, TX

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