Reviews for Granny Torrelli Makes Soup
Booklist Reviews 2003 September #1
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 4-6. This story of a friendship, told around food and delivered in small, digestible bites, is a tasty treat. As 12-year-old Rosie makes zuppa with her grandmother, she struggles with her feelings about her best friend, Bailey. Moving adroitly from the past to the present, Rosie tells about her lifelong friendship with Bailey, and how, when it became clear that he was blind, she did everything in her power to help him--sometimes suffocating him with her good intentions. As she makes the soup, she talks to Granny, who has her own story, about a dear friend from the old country, Pardo, which echoes Rosie and Bailey's relationship. Another story unfolds as Rosie, Bailey, and Granny make pasta: a new girl, moves into the neighborhood, and suddenly Rosie has a rival for Bailey's affection. Not surprisingly, something similar happened to Granny and Pardo. This gets high marks for its unique voice (make that voices) and for the way the subtleties that are woven into the story. Each character adds flavor, but the story's strength comes mostly from Rosie--bossy, loving, and willing to see both the error of her ways and the possibilities for the future. Chris Raschka contributes a colorful jacket painting and a few inside sketches to brighten things up even more. ((Reviewed September 1, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Spring
Rosie, a prickly twelve-year-old, is self-absorbed and socially awkward. What she needs is a pinch of humility and a dash of consideration when interacting with othersùqualities her granny Torrelli clearly believes will only develop when Rosie receives a heaping measure of love. Granny Torrelli gives Rosie that love, slyly delivered in the guise of making a meal. By the end, readers will proclaim: ""[cf2]Tutto va bene[cf1]""--all is well. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2003 #6
Granny Torrelli cooks up all kinds of wonderful dishes from scratch. She's more than willing to put in the time and effort it takes to turn raw vegetables into a delicious soup; flour, salt, and eggs into perfect pasta; and various meats, a host of spices, and tomatoes into a mouth-watering sauce. She's also willing to take the time to work with her granddaughter, Rosie, a prickly twelve-year-old, self-absorbed and socially awkward. Rosie offends her best friend Bailey, who is blind, with her tendency to "do things for Bailey because he can't see, things I think are too hard for him, like cracking the eggs" and with her jealousy of the new girl in town. What Rosie needs is a pinch of humility and a dash of consideration when interacting with others, qualities Granny Torrelli clearly believes will only develop when Rosie receives a heaping measure of love, an important ingredient often forgotten by her busy parents. And Granny Torrelli gives Rosie that love, slyly delivered under the guise of making a meal. Rosie, Granny, and Bailey cut and chop and knead and stir, but they also talk and listen as Granny Torrelli shares stories of her family and her childhood, each having an indirect connection to Rosie and Bailey's now-rocky friendship. There are some inconsistencies in Rosie's narrative voice, but these do not interfere with the clear image of a needy little girl trying to grow up but unable to do so gracefully. In her previous works Creech has introduced situations where a sympathetic adult comes to the aid of an unhappy child in crisis, and fans of this theme will proclaim at story's end, as Granny Torrelli does when she serves up a perfect dish of cavatelli, "Tutto va bene" -- all is well. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Magazine Reviews
Kirkus Reviews 2003 July #1
Soup and pasta, that is. The preparation of the two dinners forms the structure for this loose little treatment in which 12-year-old Rosie works out her changing relationship with Bailey, the proverbial boy-next-door. The reader meets Rosie and her Granny as they slice and chop, Granny's penetrating questions and stories of her youth leading narrator Rosie to reflect in short vignettes on her lifelong friendship and on her current pre-adolescent difficulties. The scenario is repeated the following week, only now Bailey himself becomes part of the cooking crew, clearly benefiting as much from Granny's well-timed pauses as Rosie. Rosie's present-tense voice is fresh and young, with an ingenuous turn of phrase. The structure mitigates significant plot development, however: readers are presented with a situation-Bailey and Rosie redefine their childhood friendship-which is resolved ever-so-neatly, thanks to Granny's remarkably parallel stories and a few pinches of garlic. Full of good humor and aromatic seasonings, this offering nevertheless may not stick to the ribs. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 June #3
A warm kitchen filled with inviting aromas sets the scene for this heartfelt novel celebrating friendship and family ties. Here 12-year-old Rosie and her Italian grandmother whip up extraordinary dishes and exchange confidences. As the novel opens, Rosie broods on a fight she has had with her best friend, Bailey, who is going blind, and it soon becomes apparent that Granny Torrelli's talents aren't limited to cooking. She detects that her granddaughter is bothered by something and tells Rosie a few stories from her own childhood that resonate with Rosie's situation as the two prepare a delicious soup. Rosie then confides memories of Bailey, and the layering of experiences builds in much the same way as Creech's Fishing in the Air. Though Rosie and Granny may be generations apart, their lives have been shaped by similar situations. By the second section, "Pasta Party," Rosie and Bailey are on better terms. Creech (Walk Two Moons) once again shows her ability to crystallize characters and express their emotions through very few, carefully chosen words. Her subtle approach only enhances the novel's cumulative impact. Like comfort food, conversations between Granny and Rosie have a soothing effect, reminding readers that conflicts pass and there will always be moments when friends and family gather, peace of mind returns and, in Granny Torrelli's words, "Tutto va bene"-all is well. Ages 8-12. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 January #2
In a starred review, PW said, "A warm kitchen filled with inviting aromas sets the scene for this heartfelt novel celebrating friendship and family ties." Ages 8-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2003 August
Gr 4-7-Tastes and smells emerge along with wisdom and insight as a grandmother and grandchild reveal experiences past and present in the warmth of the kitchen. Rosie and Bailey are neighbors, born only a week apart. They are like sister and brother, only better "because I chose him and he chose me." She has always been his helper as he was born visually impaired. But now they have had a falling out. As Rosie tells Granny, Bailey is acting spiteful, all because she tried to be just like him. To be just like Bailey-her buddy, her pal-Rosie secretly learned to read Braille and unknowingly took away the special thing only he could do. When the two of them come together with Granny Torrelli in the kitchen and make cavatelli, the rift between them heals. Stories and wisdom continue as sauce and meatballs are made, helping to clarify feelings. As family and friends raise a glass of water to toast the cooks, Rosie realizes that her world is indeed bigger as is Bailey's; that tutto va bene-all is well! Twelve-year-old Rosie's narration seamlessly integrates Granny Torrelli's stories and fleeting conversations in short chapters. Her authentic voice gradually reveals what has happened and the accompanying emotions ranging from anger and angst to happiness and contentment. The integration of the Italian kitchen and Granny's family stories from the old country add flavor just like the ingredients in her recipes. This is a meal that should not be missed.-Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.