Welcome to a new-baby book for new readers.
Yoo’s controlled text in this Confetti Kids entry is appropriately divided into short chapters that will support emergent readers’ success. It also celebrates cultural specificity by centering Mei’s character and her Chinese-American family’s party to celebrate that her baby brother, Ming, is 100 days old. A diverse group of friends, whom readers may recognize from earlier titles, attends the party: Henry, Lily, Pablo, and Padma, who, between naming conventions and Ng-Benitez’s appealing watercolor and digital illustrations, are cued as white, black, Latinx, and South Asian, respectively. The tension in the story stems from Mei’s struggle to determine the titular “perfect gift” for the baby. Illustrations provide context for how her friends try to help, such as when Padma points to a little boy with a truck and says “Boys like trucks,” to suggest a gift for Ming. Henry, playing a drum on the front stoop, contradicts her: “I don’t like trucks…I like to play music,” and suggests that Mei should buy a drum. Grandma, whose character integrates information about traditions for the 100-days party, advises Mei that “The perfect gift comes from the heart,” and this inspires Mei to make a special book for her little brother.
A perfect package of early-reader accessibility, culturally-conscious story, and inclusivity. (Early reader. 5-8)