They may be delightful, identical twins, but Ling and Ting have highly individual attitudes and approaches to life. With Ting’s sneeze and a barber’s errant snip of her bangs, readers can easily differentiate between the sisters until Grace Lin’s establishment of their unique traits in the tales that follow does the rest. A quintet of stories charts their adventures, and a sixth reviews the events of the previous five tales. Lin’s framed images heighten the humor: She begins each story with a fullpage scene-setter (such as a barber pole for the first and chef ’s hats for the third, “Making Dumplings”), and each chapter’s closing image often resolves the challenge raised in the vignette. “I sat on the idea for Ling & Ting for years because I was afraid it encouraged the ‘all Asians look alike’ stereotype,” says Lin. “It was only until I could justify why the characters had to be identical did the book find its way. Because, whereas the theme of many of my other books have been how even when people look different, there are many similarities, the theme of this book is how when people look the same, there are many differences.”
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Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!
Little, Brown / July / 9780316024525 / $14.99 / ages 6-9