Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tofu and T.Rex

I've wanted to read Greg Leitich Smith's Tofu and T. Rex for a while now, and it finally appeared this week at my public library. And, what a fun novel it is too!

Two cousins end up sharing a house with their grandfather in Chicago. (Poor Opa, kindhearted soul he is.) One cousin, Hans-Peter, was already living in the house with Opa. Hans-Peter's mother lives there too when she happens to be in the country, which is rarely. She's a star sushi chef and travels to prepare the potentially lethal blowfish sushi for Japanese thrill seekers. The other cousin, young vegan activist, Freddie, gets in trouble for staging a protest at her new home in Texas and is promptly shipped back to Chicago and her old school, Peshtigo Academy. And, Freddie is not too happy. Opa runs a butcher shop/deli and his life is sausage, an interest Hans-Peter shares.

Freddie is militant in the way only pre- and teenagers can be and she revolts against the rule of meat products in the house and in the store. In order to avoid sausage preparation, she agrees to construct a school float. In the meantime, Hans-Peter is preparing a lengthy application to Peshtigo Academy himself and is worried about Freddie's (negative) influence on his chances. (An aside here: Peshtigo Academy reminds me of Chicago's Waldorf school.)

Tofu and T. Rex is really about what it means to be a family and putting up with idiosyncrasies because you have to find the best in the ones you love. A very cute read for the 8-12 crowd.

Another aside here...online presence does make a difference.