The Runaway Wok – Not Just for Chinese New Year

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Guest post by Jenni Fischer, mom and filmmaker.

The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compesten takes place during the celebration of the Chinese New Year, but it can be shared with children at any time. As an avid traveler pre-kids, now I travel using books like this one. Plus, this fun book gave me an excuse to stir fry (not that I needed one).

Stir-fried rice is a significant dish for children at the Chinese New Year celebration. Always cooked in a wok, the different ingredients mixing together represent harmony and happiness. (The author includes a recipe in the back of the book).

At our house, we love stir frying Bok Choy. It is (so far) the only green thing my toddler will ever eat. It really is simple and good. The vegetables cook up very quickly when cooked in a wok, so stand by.

Bok Choy Directions

1. Take one bunch of bok choy or baby bok choy (I prefer baby bok choy). Wash and chop (1 inch pieces are nice) or with baby bok choy, I often just chop off the bottom white part.

2. Put wok on the stove at a rather high heat (stir fry is quick because of the high heat).

3. Add approximately 1 TBS of oil (peanut oil or sesame oil work best because of the high heat).

4. Add bok choy. Cook for about 2-3 minutes (stir every 30 seconds)

You can also add garlic or ginger in the pan first, if you prefer. I also recommend adding a dash (or 2) of soy sauce in the pan.

Year of the Dragon

In the book, it is the year of the dragon, which is perfect because 2012 is also the year of the dragon. Red Ted’s Art has several great dragon craft activities, like the egg carton dragon below, and other crafts that would pair well with this fun book.

Jenni Fischer is a mom of two, Wild Thing (her toddler) and Caterpillar (her 10 month-old), as well as an independent filmmaker who has taught filmmaking to youth and has run after-school programs through her company Generation Arts ( The activities above feature her after-school program students. She writes about her experiences with Wild Thing and Caterpillar at The Good Long Road ( with an emphasis on mindfulness, imagination, and creative activities related to her toddler’s favorite children’s books.

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