PIECE BY PIECE by Susan Tan

PIECE BY PIECE

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 9
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Missing her grandmother, a young Chinese American girl finds comfort in a museum.

For Emmy, “museums have always been a special place for Nainai and me,” and all summer they explored them together during Nainai’s visit. Already missing their trips and meals of dumplings, Nainai gives Emmy a blue blanket made up of mementos before returning to China. The differing textiles and patterns are beautifully rendered in layered, uneven strokes of color. In an attempt to cheer Emmy up, her dad takes her to a museum with a special exhibit: a traditional house brought over from China. The plan seems doomed from the start when Emmy loses her beloved blanket. Yet elongated descriptions narrate how Emmy finds bits of blue and comfort in each room. Bit by bit, Emmy comes to terms with her longing for Nainai and realizes commonalities with her dad, himself an immigrant. A happy reunion with the blanket marks the end of her emotional journey. Wong provides a warm, textured palette with thick black lines to describe both simply drawn figures and elaborate ornamentation. At times the expression of the illustrations seems inhibited by the elaborate details that can dominate the pages. This tale is based on the Yin Yu Tang house, which traveled from China’s Huizhou region to the Peabody Essex Museum in Massachusetts; further information about it is found in a concluding note.

A multilayered, emotional tale that is occasionally overtaken by its rich visual detail. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 19th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-8757-7239-4
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Peabody Essex Museum/Six Foot Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2019




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