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DOUBLE HAPPINESS by Nancy Tupper Ling Kirkus Star


by Nancy Tupper Ling ; illustrated by Alina Chau

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4521-2918-1
Publisher: Chronicle Books

In this gentle tale told in verse, Gracie and her brother, Jake, journey to their new home, all the while searching for special things to keep in their happiness boxes.

Gracie doesn’t want to leave Uncle Woo, Auntie Su, and her beloved San Francisco home to move across the country. To ease their pain, Nai Nai gives Gracie and Jake happiness boxes in which to gather memories. She tells them: “Find four treasures each, / leading from this home / to your new.” After goodbyes are exchanged and they set off, Gracie selects a stray eucalyptus leaf, a reminder of home, while Jake snatches a penny from the floor of the airport bus. The simple text gives off energy that is both reflective, as Gracie wonders about her new house, and joyful, as Jake finds a marble, filling his box first. Treasure choices reveal both siblings’ personalities and dreams that finally allow Gracie to feel at home. Double happiness, traditionally a wish for newlyweds in Chinese culture, expands to key moments here: for sister and brother, for two memory boxes, and step by step, for a former home to a new one. Rendered in delicate watercolors and brush strokes, Chau's illustrations and calligraphy evoke calm in the midst of Gracie’s anxieties and ethereal playfulness with Jake’s ever present mystical dragon.

A thoughtful and moving story of memory and change. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)