D is for Dragon Dance

illus. by YongSheng Xuan. 32p. Holiday House. Nov. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823440290.
PreS-Gr 1—Simple text and large illustrations fill this Chinese New Year–themed alphabet book. Short explanatory sentences add context for young listeners, although some may prompt further questioning from children unfamiliar with the holiday ("D is for Dragon Dance/E is for Evil Spirits/F is for Firecrackers/Dragon dancers and firecrackers scare away evil spirits."). Xuan's bold, textured illustrations feature a family preparing and celebrating, with large Chinese characters in a range of calligraphy styles subtly incorporated into the background. One page of back matter offers slightly more information about the holiday, ideas on how to "ensure good fortune in the New Year" and an artist's note. Unfortunately, while Xuan explains the calligraphy styles, no translation of the characters is given. Originally published in 2006, this new edition is bilingual, with all text appearing in English, simplified Chinese characters, and pinyin transliteration. The dumpling recipe in the original back matter has been moved online.
VERDICT A solid choice for introducing the Chinese New Year to young children that will work well as a read-aloud in a group setting.

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