#899 – The Ugly Dumpling by Stephanie Campisi and Shahar Kober

Today is both Canada Day—149th—and International Joke Day (begun in 1994 by a relatively unknown writer named,Wayne Reinagel). I love my Canadian friends, but I still wonder, is there a reason why these two are on the same day? Without a book by a Canadian author or illustrator, and no joke books at the moment, I offer you an unusual gastronomic tale of friendship and diversity involving the world of luscious dumplings. Enjoy!

A picture book debut for gastronomies.

theuglydumplingcover2016 The Ugly Dumpling
Written by Stephanie Campisi
Illustrated by Shahar Kober
Mighty Media Kids   4/07/2016
32 pages    Ages 2—8

“Golden Swan Restaurant
“The Ugly Dumpling
“A modern fable of
friendship, tolerance,
and the beauty of
being different.”
[back cover]

At the Golden Swan Chinese Restaurant an ignored dumpling decides it is ugly, but a unique ugliness only it possesses. Despite trying to draw attention to itself by making faces, standing tall, and wearing pleated pants—yep, not even pleated pants catches anyone’s attention—the dumpling remains behind, uneaten. One day a critter notices this lonely, uniquely ugly dumpling and sees the beauty within, instantly falling in love.

“‘I will show you the beauty of the world,’ it said.” (To the ugly dumpling.)

And it did. While viewing the beauty in its world, the ugly dumpling notices another ugly dumpling exactly like itself—and then another and another! The ugly dumpling joins this group of ugly dumplings, learns the truth regarding its ugliness, and is no longer ignored or left uneaten.


But this is not the end of the ugly dumpling’s tale. No, the ugly dumpling’s companion causes a stir in the restaurant. Everyone flees, including ugly dumpling’s new group. Left alone once more, what will become of the two friends? Will the critter remain in love with the ugly dumpling, or go on its way?

The Ugly Dumpling tells a tale of isolation, loneliness, friendship, and finally self-awareness—and self-esteem—when the ugly dumpling learns being different can be a good thing to be. The press release calls The Ugly Dumpling,

“A modern fable of friendship, feelings, and being different. Teaches diversity, self-esteem, and anti-bullying.”


I agree with all of this except the anti-bullying. I don’t believe a bully arises out of the dough. Being ignored and uneaten is not necessarily the same as bullying. The Ugly Dumpling does involve loneliness and self-awareness with feelings (Ugly Dumpling, left uneaten, alone because it is different from the other dumpling).

Self-acceptance and friendship are definitely themes in this multicultural tale. The diversity comes in between the ugly dumpling and the critter that befriends Ugly Dumpling, falling in love with its inner beauty. Using dumplings to teach about self-esteem, standing tall even when alone, and valuing friendship is unique with interesting, unusual characters.


I love the onomatopoeia and so will kids and their parents. Reading those spreads is fun while giving readers the ability to add voices. I love the ending. Ugly Dumpling and its critter friend stick together as true friends will, despite what others may think of their friendship. Kids who love to cook will love The Ugly Dumpling. Younger children may not understand the story but will most definitely enjoy the illustrations. All will think differently the next time they have dumplings for dinner.

The Ugly Dumpling is author Stephanie Campisi’s debut children’s book.

THE UGLY DUMPLING. Text copyright © 2016 by Stephanie Campisi. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Shahar Kober. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Mighty Media Kids, Minneapolis, MN.

AmazonIndie BooksApple Books—Mighty Media Kids

Find The Ugly Dumpling on Goodreads HERE.
The Ugly Dumpling Coloring Sheets are HERE.

Stephanie Campisi:  http://www.stephaniecampisi.com/
Follow on Twitter          @stephcampisi

Shahar Kober:  http://www.skober.com/
Follow on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/shakober

Mighty Media Kids:  http://mightymediapress.com/
Follow on Twitter

Mighty Media Kids is an imprint of Mighty Media Press.

Reprinted with permission from THE UGLY DUMPLING © 2016 by Stephanie Campisi, Mighty Media Kids, an imprint of Mighty Media Press, Illustrations © 2016 by Shahar Kober.

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

The Ugly Dumpling
Written by Stephanie Campisi
Illustrated by Shahar Kober
Mighty Media Kids 4/07/2016


10 thoughts on “#899 – The Ugly Dumpling by Stephanie Campisi and Shahar Kober

  1. Haha, Genevieve’s comment cracked me up. I love that this book is teaching self-acceptance in such a cute, quirky way! But it has to be noted that I enjoy all dumplings, no matter the appearance 🙂


    • LOL!! I suppose you have a good point, Cupcake. But a life with a cockroach just doesn’t seem all that terrific to me. Still, being eaten would be worse. I’m so glad you are here to make me smile—and GRIN.


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