Synopses & Reviews
It's not easy being the ugliest dumpling in a dim sum restaurant. Uneaten and ignored, the ugly dumpling is down in the dumps. But when an encouraging cockroach sees the dumpling and its inner beauty, this unlikely duo embarks on an eye-opening adventure, leading the ugly dumpling to discover its true identity and realize that being different is beautiful after all.
A modern fairy tale retelling with a timeless moral: There's a little ugly dumpling in all of us.
Publisher Weekly Reviews
"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
Everyone loves the dumplings at the Golden Swan Chinese Restaurant but no one wants the ugly dumpling of the title: it doesn’t look like 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). “Uneaten and ignored” it’s befriended by a cockroach who promises “I will show you the beauty of the world.” Together they traverse mountains of flour and gaze at fortune cookie pyramids and the ugly dumpling discovers a new gastronomic identity as a steamed bun (“It puffed with importance and yeast”). However another dilemma arises: cockroaches are anathema to restaurants. 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. But the global tour has little bearing on the dumpling’s epiphany and the ending which finds the friends leaving the restaurant to live in a Dumpster is something of a letdown. Ages 2–8. Author’s agent: Stacey Glick Dystel amp; Goderich Literary Management. Illustrator’s agent: Justin Rucker Shannon Associates. (Apr.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"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 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
"A whimsical story about being different, and the power of love." Wendy Orr, author of Nim's Island and The Princess and Her Panther
About the Author
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 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) and The Cricket and the Ant (Lerner Publishing 2016).