Three Scoops and a Fig by Sara Laux Akin, illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung. Peachtree, Atlanta Georgia, 2010.
Poor Sophia. When her Nonno and Nonna are expected to visit her family’s Italian Restaurant, The Fig Tree, Sophia wants to help get ready for their visit. But every “helpful” thing she tries ends up in disaster. She presses the button on the blender and causes an explosion. She puts too much yeast in the bread dough. She tosses pizza dough so high it gets caught in the ceiling fan. The adults around her tell her, “Bambina, sei troppo piccolo!” To which she replies, “I am not too little.”
But all is not lost. A chance encounter with a fig tree helps Sophia invent a new dessert just in time for her grandparent’s arrival.
Laux Akin’s spare but effective prose and Hartung’s watercolor illustrations bring Sophia’s Italian family to life. The story will resonate with any young child who wants to be grown up and help, but is told “you are too little to help!” The satisfying ending will reassure her that, like Sophia, her time to help will come.