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The Ugly Vegetables Hardcover – July 1, 1999


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The Ugly Vegetables + Dim Sum for Everyone! + Thanking the Moon: Celebrating the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 390L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge (July 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881063363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881063363
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 10.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #279,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this debut children's book, a girl and her mother chart their own course in spring plantingAand reap the benefits. The girl narrator is clearly disappointed when, unlike her neighbors who prepare flower gardens, she and her mother plant Chinese vegetables that, her mother insists, are "better than flowers." While the other backyards yield colorful blooms, her garden becomes crowded with "ugly vegetables," lumpy, bumpy and "icky yellow." But when the girl's mother uses them to make a soup, its "magical aroma" attracts neighbors to their doorAcarrying bouquets of flowers from their gardens. Though the pacing of the text is a bit uneven, the mother's confidence in the garden's success and Lin's message of community togetherness buoy up the narrative. A charming, childlike quality infuses the artwork; boldly hued gouache pictures feature skies and lawns as patterned as the girl's kitchen wallpaper and curtains. For ambitious young gardeners and would-be chefs, an illustrated glossary of the vegetables and their Chinese characters along with a soup recipe conclude the volume. Ages 3-8. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3 A Chinese-American girl and her mother grow a vegetable garden in a neighborhood where everyone else grows flowers. The girl thinks their plants are ugly compared to flowers, but soon learns that vegetables can make a very delicious soup one that the whole neighborhood wants to try. Soon everyone is growing Chinese vegetables as well as flowers. A recipe for "Ugly Vegetable Soup" is included. Lin's brightly colored gouache illustrations perfectly match her story, creating a patchwork-quilt effect as the neighbors' backyards all converge. Families of all kinds engage in all sorts of activities while children play happily together. Each double-page spread is a different color with a different pattern scattered lightly across it, serving as a frame for the illustrations and as background for the text. A lovely, well-formatted book with an enjoyable multicultural story. Judith Constantinides, East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library, LA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Hello! Thanks so much for your interest in me and my books!

I grew up in Upstate NY with my parents and 2 sisters, whom are featured in many of my books, including "Dim Sum For Everyone!" and my novels, "The Year of the Dog" and "The Year of the Rat." My mother and I were the star characters in my first book, "The Ugly Vegetables"--I cut both my sisters out of that story! They were quite upset with me and made me promise never to cut them out again. And since then, I haven't...yet.

While many of my books highlight my family, not all of them do. My Newbery Honor-winning novel "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon," is an Asian inspired fantasy that some people call a Chinese 'Wizard of Oz,' and my early reader "Ling & Ting" is inspired by the old 'Flicka, Dicka & Ricka' books I read when I was young.

I hope you enjoy my books. Please visit my website: www.gracelin.com for more info about them (behind the scene stories and pictures) as well as other amusing anecdotes!

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I read this book at the storytime at my local library.
Yvonne Cotto
When I was the mystery reader in her Pre-K class I read this and all the kids enjoyed it very much.
V. Cayford
Beautiful illustrations and a fun story, especially if coming from a gardening background.
Renae Bedolla

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
this book stands apart from so many of the thoughtless children's books being released by the truckload over the past few years. grace lin's pictures and words blend effortlessly together to create a simple, yet sphisticated, deeply rooted and inteligent childrens book for all ages. I can't wait to see more of grace's books, and try her recipe. yum! i highly recomend this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By bookaholic on June 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a wonderful story that my husband and children just loved. We learned about some new vegetables in the process. As a kid I wasn't fond of bitter melon, but I'm willing to give it a second try after reading the book! My 5 and 6 year old boys are clamoring for us to go out, buy some ugly vegetables, and make the soup! This book appeals to every member of the family and the illustrations are beautiful.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By KSL on August 21, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Each Grace Lin book I get, I am just so impressed by her talent! Every child loves to get their hands into dirt and growing flowers or vegetables is always fun and gives the child great pride to show everyone their hard work and or beautiful flowers!

Every child wants to be just the same as their friends, especially those in the neighborhood. Mom and daughter start in the spring to plant their garden and while everyone else in the neighborhood each have their own way of tending their gardens totally different from how her and her mom garden. When their plants appear they look like grass, where other neighbors' appear they look like normal plants.

The little girl constantly asks questions as all children do, why mommy, why mommy and her mommy patiently answers each of her daughters questions. When others in the neighborhood have beautiful flowersthat smell so good, the little girls garden has what she sees as ugly plants with no beautiful scents. Once the vegetables are ready to be harvested the little girl and mother gather their wheelbarrow with their vegetables. Later that afternoon the daughter is out playing in the yard and smells a wonderful smell and it's coming from her house! Her mom has made soup using their harvest and her mom gives her a bowl..... it tastes so good! Then there comes knocking at their door and it's the little girls neighbors wanting to trade their beautiful flowers for a bowl of soup. The Mom tells the neighbors about each vegetables and the next spring the little girl notices her neighbors growing " Ugly Vegetables" too!

I love that Lin includes a receipe to make using these so called "ugly vegetables" and that she included their names and even sounded them out. Keep up the good work Mrs. Lin and I'll keep on buying your books and singing praises to anyone who'll read my reviews!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Honestly, one of the best chidren's picture books out there now. The beautiful, colorful illustrations will appeal to both adults and children alike. The story of acceptance and cultural exchange is timeless and enduring. Really, a wonderful wonderful book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a terrific story about neighborhoods and identity. Children will love the vivid, beautiful illustrations, and adults will cherish the tender story. It will make you appreciate the flowers AND the ugly vegetables!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I thought the story was wonderful, this combined with Grace Lin's choice of vibrant colors and illustrations make it a must for all kids! Excellent!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tassie on May 12, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was drawn to this book for several reasons. First off, I have a child born in and adopted from China and am naturally drawn to books relating to Chinese people. As much as I want her to understand her birth culture I am also learning at the same time. We have several Grace Lin books in our library at home and have loved everyone of them. What I love about this book is that it illustrates how we all have something to teach one another and that through our sharing and teaching we actually become comfortable with ourselves. This isn't just a book about some unusual vegetables, it's a story about people and what we each have to offer the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Books for Children on August 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A child feels awkward about her family's different customs but comes to appreciate, along with the neighbors, her mother's Chinese vegetable garden and delicious soup.

As recommended on my children's book recommendation site Books for Children ([...]
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