Books by Lenore Look

ALVIN HO by Lenore Look
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 5, 2014

"Pack your bags and prepare to fly. (glossary) (Fiction. 6-10)"
Alvin Ho is at it again. Allergic to everything and all things girly, this 7-1/2-year-old worrywart hops a continent to visit relatives in Beijing. Is China ready for Alvin? Read full book review >
BRUSH OF THE GODS by Lenore Look
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 25, 2013

"A cheerful introduction not only to Wu Daozi, but to the power of inspiration. (Picture book. 4-9)"
The life of the classical Chinese painter Wu Daozi is imagined as a magical artistic adventure. Read full book review >
ALVIN HO by Lenore Look
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 9, 2013

"Alvin's excitable, first-person narration, replete with his realistic attempts to make sense of what he doesn't understand, will again infect readers with its goofiness. (Fiction. 7-10)"
Alvin Ho's lovable, quirky family is due to increase by one in this fifth installment of the warmly funny series, which again features vibrant, playful black-and-white illustrations by Pham. Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 13, 2011

"A fresh entry in what is overall an exceedingly enjoyable series; readers will cheer this latest. (Fiction. 7-10)"
Nervous second-grader Alvin Ho digs deep to find the bravery to attend a funeral in this playful and poignant fourth offering in the series. Read full book review >
RUBY LU, STAR OF THE SHOW by Lenore Look
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 8, 2011

The irrepressible Ruby Lu is back and feeling the effects of the recession. A couple of generations after Beverly Cleary broached the subject in Ramona and Her Father (1977), Look allows the economy to affect her latter-day imp. In this installment, Ruby Lu and her cousin Flying Duck, who communicates in Chinese sign language, embark together on the exciting adventure that is the third grade. Things get complicated, though, when Ruby's mother gets a job selling shoes in the mall and turns over the household management to Ruby's recently unemployed father. As their once-organized world starts to fall apart, Ruby concocts some interesting schemes to improve the situation, some of which work and some of which turn into hilarious disasters. Although the overall tone is lighthearted, Look provides some real insight into the struggles a family faces when its main breadwinner is out of work, and she resists providing an easy resolution. By the end, it is clear that Ruby's family will survive the crisis but not without making some sacrifices and depending on each other more than ever. Fans of Sara Pennypacker's Clementine and Katy Kelly's Lucy Rose should definitely meet Ruby Lu. (Fiction. 6-10)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 28, 2010

Back for a third adventure, anxious Alvin Ho faces such terrifying scenarios as a class visit to the houses of famous deceased authors in his Concord, Mass., hometown and negotiating the particulars of being invited to a girl's birthday party, even as he yearns to be invited to the shindig of another (male) classmate. As in the first two in the series, illustrator Pham's expressively appealing ink drawings add life, and Alvin proves an engaging narrator, whose imagination runs wild to hilarious effect. His likable, funny siblings and caring, if at times exasperated, parents are also along for the ride. Troubling in this volume, however, is that at the coveted boys' birthday party, everyone is dressing up as Indians and settlers, and Alvin figures his ticket is a "deluxe Indian Chief outfit." Although there is a brief note in the always-creative glossary regarding the colonization of Native peoples' land during King Philip's War, there is no textual mitigation of a running joke that seems anachronistic at best—readers may well be left feeling uncomfortable with the stereotype. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 23, 2009

The second installment in this series about an effervescent but nerve-wracked second grader will please its fans and appeal to new readers as well. When his father insists on taking him camping, Alvin is quaking in his boots. Sensing his panic, Alvin's older brother, Calvin, orders hundreds of dollars of survival gadgetry on the Internet with their dad's emergency credit card ("This way no one has to spend any money," Calvin explains, "you pay with plastic"). Further support arrives in the form of their uncle's lessons on trap building, and the inevitable comedy of errors that is the actual camping trip leaves Alvin, his little sister, Anibelly, and their dad in a variety of wild binds. While Look certainly embellishes at times for comedic effect, she has created in Alvin a character that is as real as he is irascible, and the tender relationships among the members of the Ho family provide a sturdy backbone for all the silliness. Pham's simple but vibrant line drawings leap off the page. Another triumph for Alvin Ho. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 8, 2008

Bright, energetic Alvin Ho is about to enter the second grade. The middle child in his close family, he idolizes his devoted, patient dad. He's a big superhero fan and he loves all things that explode. His enthusiasm, however, doesn't carry over to school—he's so petrified while there that he can't utter a single word: "But as soon as I get to school…I am as silent as a side of beef," he explains. In the vignettes that make up this exuberantly funny slice of Alvin's life, Look portrays the world as it would be viewed through the eyes of a wildly creative but undeniably neurotic kid. In his hometown of Concord, Mass., Alvin searches for friends, meets with a psychotherapist (who he supposes must be a "very smart crazy person" based on her job title) and gets himself into a variety of jams. A witty glossary and Pham's simple yet expressive line drawings perfectly complement this appealing story about the refreshingly original, endearing Alvin. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
RUBY LU, EMPRESS OF EVERYTHING by Lenore Look
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2006

The best thing about Flying Duck and her family emigrating from China to live with Ruby Lu's family is that everything is new and exciting, but her mother warns her that even the most exciting things can grow old. Suddenly everything is different. The house is filled with strange new foods, the sounds of a new language and too many people. As Empress of Everything, Ruby Lu already has a full plate. How will she ever manage to squeeze all the new responsibilities that come with a suddenly much larger family into her schedule already packed with swimming lessons, the Plum Club and summer school? Reminiscent of Beverly Cleary's infamous Ramona Quimby, Ruby Lu is at once endearing and exasperating. The only flaw is the occasional tendency to pontificate. Peppered with delightful illustrations of the myriad adventures and mishaps, this follow-up to Ruby Lu, Brave and True (2004) does not disappoint. (Fiction. 7-10)Read full book review >
UNCLE PETER’S AMAZING CHINESE WEDDING by Lenore Look
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 1, 2006

In this feel-good companion to Henry's First-Moon Birthday (2001), young Jenny participates in a favorite uncle's wedding—unhappily, until she's given an attitude-altering task to perform in it. Reflecting both events and Jenny's mood with repeated small images scattered about the flat backgrounds, Heo's stylized illustrations portray the happy couple, surrounded by relatives, engaging in a series of modern takes on traditional rituals and customs, to which Jenny's commentary adds detail: "At last comes the fun part—the bed-jumping ceremony that ends the sleepy half of the wedding." Jenny's effort to sabotage the whole event causes only a temporary halt, and after the bride gives her a box of butterflies to release, the day ends, as it should, with loving smiles and hugs. Children of any culture will accept with pleasure Look's invitation to witness this distinctive iteration of a universal life event. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
RUBY LU, BRAVE AND TRUE by Lenore Look
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 1, 2004

Welcome Ruby Lu! In what is billed as the first in a series, Ruby Lu bursts onto the scene with Oscar, her beloved baby brother, at her side. Whether she is furling her cape and performing backyard magic tricks or visiting her grandparents, PohPoh and GungGung, Ruby's enthusiasm for life bubbles out of her. She loves her house, her neighborhood, her second-grade teacher and, well, just about everything. When Oscar begins to talk, Ruby learns just how hard being a big sister can be. He reveals the secret of her best magic trick and easily learns the words to the songs at Saturday Chinese school, slowly deflating her ego. Young readers will identify with Ruby's excitement and good intentions, even when she is slowly and carefully driving her brother to Chinese school and parking the family car in the principal's spot. Wilsdorf's airy pencil illustrations joyfully bounce through the text. Hooray for Ruby Lu: she can ably join Hurwitz's Russell and Elisa, McGovern's Julian, and Cleary's Ramona on the shelves of excellent series fiction for new chapter-book readers. (Fiction. 6-10)Read full book review >
HENRY'S FIRST-MOON BIRTHDAY by Lenore Look
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2001

Baby Henry is celebrating his one-month birthday, with everyone in his Chinese-American family making extensive preparations for the festivities, especially his big sister, Jenny, and their grandmother, Gnin-Gnin. Look (Love as Strong as Ginger, 1999) tells the story in present tense with Jenny as the narrator describing all the special foods and decorations, guests, and presents that make the traditional celebration part of her family heritage. Her grandmother skillfully involves Jenny in all the preparations and gives her the extra dose of love any new big sister needs. The story is rather flighty and episodic, but since a bright, take-charge little girl is the narrator, perhaps that is just realistic fiction. Heo's (Yoshi's Feast, 2000, etc.) delightfully naïve illustrations perpetuate the notion that Jenny is in charge of this story, both in words and in pictures, and the flat perspective and whirling background details of the pencil, oil, and collage illustrations offer a cheery, child-like view of Jenny's world. Bright, colorful, busy, and jumpy (just like real life in any happy household with a healthy newborn), this story will be of special interest to Chinese-American families and to parents of adopted Chinese children, but has universal appeal. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >