Tofu Takes Time

by Helen H Wu (Author) Julie Jarema (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Homemade tofu is good, and good things take time. CLICK CLACK WHIRRRR . . . Lin and her grandma, NaiNai, are making tofu from scratch! When NaiNai goes through each step, from blending soybeans with water to molding curd into shape, Lin gradually becomes impatient. But she soon discovers that making tofu not only takes time, but also takes the whole universe! It takes the seed from soil and sunshine, the cloth from thread and fiber, weight and space, books of words and pictures. And most of all, it takes spending lovely time with her beloved grandmother. In this charming tale by Helen H. Wu, readers will marvel at how patience brings a whole universe together in a simple dish made by a modern Chinese American family. Perfect for fans of Fry Bread, Drawn Together and Thank You, Omu.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 1--In this child-friendly, intergenerational story, Lin and NaiNai carefully execute each step necessary for making tofu. "Tofu takes time" is the refrain, but in addition to teaching patience, the grandmother imparts a wealth of knowledge about the source of each ingredient in the wider world. Water, sunlight, metal, fabric and wood all play significant roles in the production of a delicious essential food. Wu incorporates sound words throughout such as "Click, Click, Whirrrr," "Bubble, Bobble, Popple," and "Fizzle, Sizzle, Hiss." These are a delight to the ear and make this book one that promises successful read-alouds. The playful tone works in beautiful partnership with Jarema's joyful illustrations as granddaughter and grandmother work together. Back matter provides information on the history of tofu and explains its recent popularity. While the author's personal tofu experience relates to her own Chinese traditions, she also references tofu practices from other Asian countries. VERDICT A standout story about a healthy food that some readers will embrace as a reflection of their own culture or diet and others will be inspired to try making.--Gloria Koster

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Sentimental and quaint...A culinary lesson in patience. —Kirkus Reviews

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
April 20, 2022

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