Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence, pictures by Elizabet Vukovic

Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Summary:  As Jasmine’s family prepares for the new year, she is frustrated that her older sister Sophie gets to help the women in the kitchen preparing the mochi balls.  Not only that, but mean cousin Eddie is old enough to help pound mochi with the men in the backyard.  Unwilling to be relegated to babysitting her younger cousins, Jasmine decides to prove that she is strong enough to join the mochi pounders.  Her patient and understanding family helps her along, and she is able to contribute to the festivities in her own unique way.  Includes an author’s note about mochi, a mochi recipe, and a preview of the next book in the series.  128 pages; grades 1-4.

Pros:  Jasmine is a spunky, likable character who will appeal to fans of Ramona and Junie B. Jones.  Each of the first three books in the series focuses on some aspect of Japanese culture.

Cons:  The recipe for mochi didn’t look appealing enough to make all the preparations in the book seem worthwhile.

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