Ten Blocks to the Big Wok

Ten Blocks to the Big Wok cover
Ten Blocks to the Big Wok by Ying-Hwa Hu

By Ying-Hwa Hu
Children’s Book Press / Lee & Low, 2022
32 pages

Ages 3-6

A bilingual (English/Chinese) counting book follows little Mia and her Uncle Eddie on a walk through Chinatown. They are headed to the Big Wok restaurant for dim sum. On the way there they pass an array of items connected to their Chinese heritage, all in countable quantities: one giant panda, two stone lions, three ageless turtles, four miniature trees, and so forth. (An author’s note provides two or three sentences about the significance of each of these items in Chinese culture.) Patient Uncle Eddie allows Mia to stop and look carefully at everything that grabs her interest, and appears to enjoy their walk through the neighborhood as much as she does. Once they get to the restaurant, Mia counts the dim sum item on their table, from ten soup dumplings down to two egg tarts. Then she asks for one bowl of anchovies to go, which she shares with the small orange and white cat that followed them on their journey to the restaurant. Culturally accurate watercolor and pastel paintings show an affectionate bond between a child and her uncle, who both clearly enjoy each other’s company as they walk along a lively street in their neighborhood. A final page shows the numbers from one to ten in both Chinese and English, along with a pronunciation guide for each one. ©2022 Cooperative Children’s Book Center