The Lunar New Year Surprise

Soaring Kite. (Holidays in Our Home: Bk. 1). Nov. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781958372050.
K-Gr 3–The first entry in the “Holidays in our Home” series features an unnamed brother and sister celebrating Lunar New Year. The older brother has crocheted a special dragon as a gift for his meimei (Mandarin for younger sister) and keeps trying to find the right time to give it to her amid the festivities. Traditions such as red envelopes, paying respects to ancestors, fireworks, and the lion dance are all thoroughly explained. The gift-giving plot, while cute, is a thin throughline to the text-heavy work that is mostly focused on explaining the holiday to readers who are encountering it for the first time. Mandarin vocabulary is lightly sprinkled in the text. The brother and sister are cued as Chinese, but the wider community is racially diverse. Back matter includes information about traditional Lunar New Year’s foods from around the world, such as Tibetan momo (dumplings) and Vietnamese bánh chu’ng (rice cakes). There is also a spread on the Chinese zodiac and a general craft idea—but, sadly, no crochet pattern for the dragon.
VERDICT Recommended for larger collections or those that need books about Lunar New Year.

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