Imagining a dragon in the steam behind his mother (""Ma""), a young Vietnamese hurls a bali at it, accidentally breaking a precious heirloom teapot that his family believes embodies their good luck. Sadly, Ma gathers the pieces; ""Ba"" (father) thunders, ""Now our first winter in America will surely be a monster!"" Little Hoang tries to make amends; and since neither honey nor glue holds the broken pot together, he paints another, shabby teapot in imitation of the lost treasure, winning a smile from Ma. This earnest attempt to introduce Vietnamese culture is prefaced by a long note, addressed to adults or older children, about the animistic beliefs the story depicts. But though the narrative is gentle and appealing, the family's responses are inexplicable without this background, which is likely to be beyond the picture book audience. Moreover, the story is, at best, ambivalent about the depth and validity of the beliefs portrayed. Meanwhile, Frankel debuts with impressionistic illustrations that, while observed with sympathy and executed with skill, are too dark and vague to appeal to most children. A flawed effort.