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STAR OF THE WEEK by Darlene Friedman


A Story of Love, Adoption, and Brownies with Sprinkles

by Darlene Friedman and illustrated by Roger Roth

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: June 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-114136-2
Publisher: HarperCollins

The subtitle’s reference to “brownies with sprinkles” puts an unfortunately saccharine spin on this otherwise heartfelt collaboration, in which Friedman and Roth draw upon their experience as adoptive parents in this story about Cassidy-Li, an adopted Chinese-American girl. The first-person account, which often assumes a more mature perspective than her kindergarten age suggests, is prompted when Cassidy-Li is named “Star of the Week,” inviting her to share something special about herself with her class. Despite a later revelation that others’ questions about adoption sometimes make her uncomfortable, Cassidy-Li tells her adoption story with a photo-collage poster of friends, pets, family and other children from the same orphanage. “But something is missing,” she says as she realizes the absence of photos of her birthparents. After recalling conversations about them and their possible reasons for choosing adoption (which problematically never acknowledge China’s One Child Law), Cassidy-Li draws a picture of them for her poster. Roth’s art has a naïve quality for this illustration, but his pictures are otherwise realistic paintings of Cassidy-Li at home, in school and of the photos themselves. Worthwhile, despite minor flaws. (Picture book. 5-9)