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THE TROUBLE BEGINS by Linda Himelblau Kirkus Star


by Linda Himelblau

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2005
ISBN: 0-385-73273-2
Publisher: Delacorte

Left behind when his family emigrated from Vietnam, fifth-grader Du Nguyen rejoins his parents and three older siblings after ten years and finds the U.S. a strange and difficult world. At home, his brother calls him bad-luck kid and his father is angry all the time. In the neighborhood, the kids are all hiding and the man next door is a spy. At school, he’s called doo-doo, the work is boring and he’s in the dumb reading class. Time after time he gets in trouble because of his small-boy energy and inability to understand. In the Philippines, he was a leader, and he took care of his ailing grandmother; here, he can do nothing right. Luckily he still has his grandmother, who gently corrects him with stories, and assures him that inside he really is a brave, strong dragon. This is a completely convincing picture of the immigrant experience from the point of view of a small boy. The first-person narrative reveals his growing understanding of the world around him. Both funny and moving, Du’s story will captivate middle-grade readers while it introduces them to a new way of looking at their world. (Fiction. 8-12)