AN MEI'S STRANGE AND WONDROUS JOURNEY by Stephan Molnar-Fenton

AN MEI'S STRANGE AND WONDROUS JOURNEY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Molnar-Fenton has much to say about how the past can prey on the present, despite the loving attentions of others, in this story about his adopted Chinese daughter's journey from her birthplace to a new home in the US. An Mei, now six, narrates: ""I was born on a train as it passed through a long, dark tunnel . . . when the train broke into the light, I saw my mother's face for the first time."" An Mei, evidently, has a preternatural memory. She remembers her mother leaving her on the steps of an orphanage, then stealing away into the windy night. Her adoptive father shuttles her to Massachusetts, where a whole new set of sensory experiences present themselves. While An Mei makes peace with her new family and surroundings, she can still hear ""the sound the wind had made against the buttons of my mother's coat when she left me on the steps."" Children will wonder how An Mei can recall the events of her first days so clearly, while adults will only question why such a conceit was used to tell her story. Flesher's atmospheric illustrations are made of rubbed expanses of color; delicate white lines form the scratched outlines of people and things. The core of the story is very affecting, but the piece lumbers under the weight of the sentiments and the overripe imagery.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: DK Ink