Molnar-Fenton has much to say about how the past can prey on the present, despite the loving attentions of others, in this...

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AN MEI'S STRANGE AND WONDROUS JOURNEY

Molnar-Fenton has much to say about how the past can prey on the present, despite the loving attentions of others, in this story about his adopted Chinese daughter's journey from her birthplace to a new home in the US. An Mei, now six, narrates: ""I was born on a train as it passed through a long, dark tunnel . . . when the train broke into the light, I saw my mother's face for the first time."" An Mei, evidently, has a preternatural memory. She remembers her mother leaving her on the steps of an orphanage, then stealing away into the windy night. Her adoptive father shuttles her to Massachusetts, where a whole new set of sensory experiences present themselves. While An Mei makes peace with her new family and surroundings, she can still hear ""the sound the wind had made against the buttons of my mother's coat when she left me on the steps."" Children will wonder how An Mei can recall the events of her first days so clearly, while adults will only question why such a conceit was used to tell her story. Flesher's atmospheric illustrations are made of rubbed expanses of color; delicate white lines form the scratched outlines of people and things. The core of the story is very affecting, but the piece lumbers under the weight of the sentiments and the overripe imagery.

Pub Date: March 1, 1998

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: DK Ink

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1998