Stephanie Campisi is an Australian-born, Portland-based author and dumpling aficionado. She has combined her passion for food and love of wordplay into her debut picture book, The Ugly Dumpling. Shahar Kober is an award-winning illustrator of over thirty children's books. He lives in a small town in northern Israel with his wife, two boys, a dog, and a cat. Shahar graduated with a degree in illustration from the Shenkar College of Design in 2005. Currently, he is a freelance illustrator and teaches illustration for animation at The Neri Bloomfield Academy of Design in Israel. His work has been published in the USA, the UK, France, Germany, South Korea, Singapore, and Israel. In addition to The Ugly Dumpling, Shahar has also illustrated Chicken in Space (HarperCollins 2016).
"A bright, multicultural twist on a classic tale. ... Specifically told without gendered pronouns, this is simply a story about love. Kober's illustrations are characterized by delicious changes in perspective, and Campisi's sly, humorous asides ensure that the message of identity is not heavy-handed ... Quirky retellings often lean on clever titles alone, but this surpasses and delights."--Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review "The Ugly Duckling gets a makeover in this wacky tale about a misfit. ... the ultimate end, about accepting people because of their differences, adds an extra moral to this timeless tale. The bright illustrations are detailed and full of energy--never has food been so expressive!--and the concept is just odd enough to succeed."--Booklist "A unique take on the classic tale 'The Ugly Duckling,' this is a humorous story of friendship and self-acceptance, set in a dim sum restaurant. ... This narrative moves quickly, and the cheerful visuals do as much to tell the story as the text does. An amusing and fun addition for most collections."--School Library Journal "A simply delightful reminder in a time of unrest. A gentle calling of tolerance and acceptance. A wooing of kindness. ... Shahar Kober's well-established talent produces a warm and inviting setting, with each illustration tethering the heart of the story to the mind of its reader."--Story Monsters Ink Magazine "With an underlying message of valuing diversity and anti-bullying, The Ugly Dumpling is very highly recommended for preschool, elementary school, and community library collections." -- Midwest Book Review "Setting: Golden Swan, a dim sum restaurant. Of course!--because that's where dumplings live! (And nodding to the original tale in the eatery's name is pretty smooth.) Ingredients: a lonely, misunderstood dumpling and the cockroach who befriends it. (Yeah, this is one classy cockroach, another unexpected element to admire.) Favorite garnish: the expressions on the main character's and other steamed buns' faces. Flavor: clever, funny, and lively writing with undertones of deeper meaning. Yelp review: a story about seeing past appearances that will have you coming back for seconds."--This Picture Book Life (collaboration with Thirsty for Tea) "Everyone loves the dumplings at the Golden Swan Chinese Restaurant, but no one wants the ugly dumpling of the title: it doesn't look anything like the other pot stickers in the bamboo steamer, not even when it tries to wrinkle its brow or wear pleated pants (one of several excellent foodie jokes from debut author Campisi). ... From the wordplay of the premise to Kober's (The Flying Hand of Marco B.) crisp pictures and Campisi's easygoing sense of humor, it's a story with plenty of promise."--Publishers Weekly "Stephani Campus's The Ugly Dumpling is a fresh and delectable dish-up of the classic Ugly Duckling story for a new audience. Stuffed with charm and off-beat humor, this tale of friendship and diversity embraces all who feel at odds with their environment--with or without the recognition of why. Its sweet and insightful ending emphasizes the idea that finding your niche does not always mean finding your true self and that having the courage to strike out on your own path leads to beautiful relationships and happiness." --Celebrate Picture Books "In an effort to be as inclusive as possible to any and all readers, this book purposely omits the use of gender pronouns and features a diverse mix of characters in its vibrant spreads." --Travel Kids Club "It is the character of the cockroach that makes this book really work. The addition of a friend to model self-esteem even if you are unique is crucial here and then for the tables to turn at the end of the story. The text is simple and straight-forward, making it a great book to share aloud with a strong story arc." --Waking Brain Cells "...a unique, savory twist. Warmly tucked into those mouthwatering dumpling wrappers and soft buns is the meat of the matter: the importance of loyalty, friendship, embracing differences, developing self-esteem, standing up to peer pressure and bullying, and practicing tolerance."--Jama's Alphabet Soup "What's on the menu tonight at your local dim sum restaurant? Author Stephanie Campisi has served up a helping of fun with this clever retelling of the well-known childhood tale 'The Ugly Duckling'..."--Diapers & Daydreams "The overall message of this picture book might be a little hard to grasp at first, but children will love the story and its emphasis on the beauty of individuality regardless, while parents will appreciate occasional bits of humor that will go right over the heads of children. Kober's pictures are so cute that it's almost hard to take; who could imagine that readers would so quickly fall in love with a normally hateable insect and a piece of food? This is a clever book that will fall easily into the rotation, enjoyable by readers of many ages."--San Francisco Book Review "In this story, The Ugly Dumpling thinks it's found happiness among its own kind but...maybe looking like everyone else doesn't necessarily mean you're like everyone else, on the inside, where it really counts. Sometimes our fillings are different and that's okay. Friendship can come in the most unexpected ways and that is pretty beautiful."--Read It Real Good "Parents, caregivers, and teachers, the teaching opportunities are endless: bullying, self esteem, cooking, peer pressure, friendship, travel ... There is so much to love about this book! ... It's BEAUTIFULLY diverse."--An Unconventional Librarian " It's a new twist on the age old tale that will have readers cheering for the unusual duo as they take on the world. ...The Ugly Dumpling reminds us that we are ALL special, ALL unique, and yet there is a place in the world where we belong despite what others may say or circumstances may lead us to believe."--Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers "The Ugly Dumpling teaches kids not only that it's okay not to fit in, but encourages them to accept one another's differences -- celebrate them! -- and reach out to anyone who may feel ostracized and alone. I can't think of a kinder, more valuable message to teach our kids these days."--Mom Read It "A whimsical story about being different, and the power of love."--Wendy Orr, author of Nim's Island and The Princess and Her Panther "I love this concept and the art is beautiful!"--Jennifer Gray Olson, author and illustrator of Ninja Bunny "Campisi's prose ensnared me and Kober's illustrations wrapped me up in a blanket of whimsy and vibrant delight. ... What also makes this book fantastic is the message that so beautifully comes across through the pages. It's hard being different. The ugly dumpling shows you that everyone is beautiful in their own right and diversity should be embraced."--Laticia Overton, Examiner.com "The Ugly Dumpling tells a tale of isolation, loneliness, friendship, and finally self-awareness--and self-esteem--when the ugly dumpling learns being different can be a good thing to be." --Kid Lit Reviews "A unique twist to a classic story, plus the art is fantastic! Serve me up a double helping of The Ugly Dumpling."--Paul Czajak, author of the Monster & Me(TM) series and Seaver the Weaver "I loved this funny, witty, and sensitive story of an unlikely friendship. The Ugly Dumpling is a real delight, with a gentle message of acceptance and self-knowledge."--Leanne Hall, author of This is Shyness, Queen of the Night, and Growing Up Asian in Australia "A favorite old fable is immensely improved in the telling with food - The Ugly Dumpling is a yeasty feast of a story!"--Danielle Binks, contributor for Kill Your Darlings Magazine and blogger at Alpha Reader "A quirky and adorable tale of self-acceptance and living deliciously."--Van Badham, author of Burnt Snow, playwright, activist, and weekly columnist for The Guardian (Australia) "Adorable, unique, with a deliciously quirky and dry humor."--Tania McCartney, Kids' Book Review "...a novel take on The Ugly Duckling using dim sum to retell this classic tale as a case of mistaken identity between a dumpling and a steamed bun. A whimsical and delightful multicultural picture book about food to get your mouth watering!"--Mia Wenjen, Pragmatic Mom "A quirky and heartwarming tale celebrating difference through an unlikely friendship."--Elizabeth Lhuede, author of Snowy River Man and founder of the Australian Women Writers Challenge "... a gorgeous story that combines two wonderful things--true acceptance of a friend, and dumplings! A sweet tale about recognizing that real worth is more than skin-deep (or shell-deep), more than what others say. A lovely story by Australian Stephanie Campisi, I look forward to seeing it in stores."--Jessica Broadbent, reviewer for Books+Publishing (formerly Australian Bookseller and Publisher) "A fable for the smartphone generation!"--Josh Anon, former Pixar Creative and owner of Visoneer.tv What are the Foodies Saying? "The story of self-acceptance (and the acceptance of others who are different) is powerful, and this version and its illustrations are cute and engaging."--Nashville Scene "Bites" food blog