Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wild & Wonderful Wednesday: The Year of the ...

The Year of the Dog & The Year of the Rat
by Grace Lin
Little, Brown & Company, 2006 & 2008
Grades 2-4
Reviewed from purchased copies.

Book blurbs:
It's the Chinese Year of the Dog!  When Pacy's Mom tells here that this is a good year for friends, family and "finding herself," Pacy begins searching right away.  As the year goes on, she struggles to find her talent, deals with disappointment, makes a new best friend, and discovers just why the year of the dog is a lucky one for her after all.
Pacy has another big year in story for her.  The Year of the Dog was a very lucky year: She met her best friend, Melody, and discovered her true talents.  However, the Year of the Rat brings big changes: Pacy must deal with the possibility of Melody moving away, find the courage to forge on with her dream of becoming a writer and illustrator, and learn to face some of her own flaws in the process.  Along the way, Pacy encounters prejudice, struggles with acceptance, and find the beauty in change.
As realistic/contemporary fiction, these books portray the experiences of a Taiwanese-American girl, who struggles with the same sorts of things that many children do.  Things such as friends, school, and family are very important in Pacy's life.  What I enjoyed most about these books was the Taiwanese cultural traditions that Pacy and her family practiced and how they were and were not integrated with American cultural traditions (such as turkey at Thanksgiving).  The writing is easy and comfortable and the little illustrations throughout add a nice touch.  Recommended for those who enjoy realistic stories but also learning about another culture along the way.

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