J.C. Hsyu was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and raised in Los Angeles. A graduate of UCLA and the Clarion Writers' Workshop, she has worked in the animation, VFX, and video game industries and published speculative fiction short stories. She lives in San Francisco, California, with her husband and reads incessantly. The Dinner That Cooked Itself is her first children's book.
Kenard Pak grew up in Baltimore and Howard County, Maryland. He studied at Syracuse University and California Institute of the Arts, and as a visual development artist worked on films with Dreamworks and Walt Disney Feature Animation. The Dinner that Cooked Itself is his second children's book. Along with his wife, he lives and works in San Francisco. Visit his website at pandagun.com.
Hsyu's retelling has a folkloric simplicity, planting just enough
details to ground readers in the traditional tale. Pak's
mixed-media illustrations evoke a misty, long-ago agrarian China,
his expressive, angular faces contrasting pleasingly with fluid,
lovingly created backdrops. [...] A breath of fresh air in its
beauty and simplicity.
Hsyu debuts with a fine retelling of a Chinese folktale about a
hardworking bachelor whose kindness is rewarded. [...] Working in a
pale, muted palette, Pak (Have You Heard the Nesting Bird?)
contributes airy, rough-textured compositions that evoke both
contemporary animation and ancient, weathered frescoes as the story
takes a serpentine path to a happy ending.
--Publishers Weekly Hsyu and Pak have revived a Chinese folktale, keeping the flavor of ancient China while making the story appealing to a modern audience. [...] A solid choice for multicultural folktale collections.
--School Library Journal Kenard Pak's art is undoubtedly what makes Dinner a standout. His elongated characters with expressions he can conjure with just a few lines, the earthy palette of browns, blues, and greens he uses as if to ground the ethereal magic into something of this world, the use of various textures to create infinite backgrounds of mountains and sky, are just a few of his attentive, exquisite details.
--Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Everything about The Dinner That Cooked Itself is delicious! The story, the spellbinding illustrations, and its sweetly surprising ending are elegant and magical.
--This Picture Book Life