The Ugly Vegetables

by Grace Lin

The Ugly Vegetables jacket

An American Bookseller "Pick of the Lists"
An NCSS/CBC Notable Trade Book
Bank Street College "Best Books of the Year"

Pointered review: "A savory storytime companion to Helena Clare Pittman and Victoria Raymond's Still-Life Stew (1998). In a bright landscape of small houses and backyards, a girl and her mother dig a garden, as do their neighbors. The green shoots come up and grow, and the daughter notices that while the neighbors are cultivating flowers that fill the air with sweetness, her mother is growing ugly dark green leafy things. They are labeled not with pretty seed packets but with Chinese characters. At the end of the season, her mother picks the vegetables, and makes them into a soup that smells so good it brings all the neighbors to their porches looking as if "they were trying to eat the smell." They come to the girl's house bearing gifts of flowers, and mother and daughter invite them all in to share the soup. The next year, mother and daughter grow a few flowers alongside their vegetables, and the neighbors have small plots of vegetables next to their flowerbeds. The gouache paintings emphasize pattern: florals, grasses, stripes, and dots on clothing and rooftops. The colors are of a sunny world, with an emphasis on rose, purple, brown, and a multitude of greens. Pictures of all of the vegetables with their Chinese and English names along with the soup recipe are included. Lin tells her charming story simply, and the pictures reflect its many joys." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Grace Lin's debut picture book serves up the savory delights of the harvest in a satisfying story." -- The Horn Book

Why Couldn't Snow White Be Chinese? Grace's thoughts on who she is and the books she does.

A Touch of Grace: A profile of Grace from School Library Journal.

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