A fine example of contemporary multicultural literature.

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A MORNING WITH GRANDPA

Debut author Liu scores with a sweet story about the joys of intergenerational relationships.

Some children bake cookies with their grandpas. Others play chess with their grandmas. Mei Mei and her grandfather, Gong Gong, find a special way to connect. “Tai chi is a martial art that sends good energy through your body,” explains Gong Gong. “Martial art!…I can do karate. HI-YAH!” replies Mei Mei. As Gong Gong demonstrates his graceful tai chi moves, Mei Mei interprets them using her own style and tempo. “Gong Gong conducted a quiet symphony. Mei Mei drummed the earth with hands and feet.” Next, Mei Mei teaches Gong Gong some yoga moves. Mei Mei sits elegantly like a mermaid “with one leg bent behind her and the other leg folded in front….a creature of the deep sea guarding treasures.” Gong Gong on the other hand, “twisted his leg this way and that and almost fell over. He was a fish in the water trying to escape a dangling hook.” Together, Liu’s lively text and Forshay’s playful illustrations effectively capture a true-to-life relationship that transcends cultures and generations. Vibrant colors, dynamic scenes, and bubbly expressions—cross-eyed Mei Mei sucking in her cheeks is a winner!—all add to the giggles. The love between the two shines through in both text and illustrations. The illustrated guide to tai chi and yoga poses that follows the story is a pleasing touch.

A fine example of contemporary multicultural literature. (glossary, sources) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62014-192-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Lê’s compelling storyline is propelled forward by Santat’s illustrations, each capturing both the universal longing to...

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  • Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Winner

DRAWN TOGETHER

The power of art takes center stage in this cleverly titled story of a Thai-speaking grandfather connecting to his assimilated American grandson.

The title page introduces readers to a sullen-faced Asian boy as he walks up to a door and rings the bell. After a traditional bow of greeting, the grandfather, dressed like Mr. Rogers in a white shirt and red sweater, wordlessly welcomes the grandson inside. In paneled artwork, the two unsuccessfully attempt conversation over dinner, with the grandfather speaking in Thai script and the boy speaking in English. Sitting in the uncomfortable silence that cultural divides create, the awkward boy finally walks away to doodle on paper. He draws a wizard with a wand and a conical red hat. Grandpa, recognizing this creative outlet, fetches a sketchbook and, surprisingly, draws his version of a wizard: a tightly detailed warrior clothed in traditional Thai ceremonial dress. The young boy is amazed, marveling that “we see each other for the first time.” The two begin a battle of imagination, wands and paintbrushes thrashing like swords. One draws in energetic colorful cartoons, the other with fierce black-and-white, precisely brushed drawings. Santat elevates their newfound shared passion into energetic, layered, and complex designs, separate and entwined at the same time. They clash with the dragon that divides them and build a new world together “that even words can’t describe.”

Lê’s compelling storyline is propelled forward by Santat’s illustrations, each capturing both the universal longing to connect and the joy of sharing the creative process. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4847-6760-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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