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Summary: Clara Lee awoke one morning very unsettled. She had dreamed that her grandfather died. After some nudging, he got Clara Lee to tell him about the dream. Then he laughed. In Korean culture, having a dream about someone dying is actually good luck. Clara Lee hoped he was right, because the Little Miss Apple Pie competition was in a few days and Clara Lee wanted to show just how American she is. This is a lightly illustrated chapter book about a young Korean American girl.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, illustrated chapter, transitional reader
Recommended Age: read together: 7 to 10; read yourself: 8 and up
Young Reader Reaction: This is an excellent story that shows children that if you believe that you can do something, have good luck and the correct level of confidence, you can achieve your goal. This is a well-written book with very good illustrations. It is easy for young readers to understand the message. Young girls will really enjoy reading it, and I would buy this as a gift for a young girl. The only downside for me was that there are parts where the story gets a little repetitive and boring. Overall, it is a great book to motivate children and show them that with belief and confidence you can achieve anything that you want to achieve in life.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a lovely story. Clara Lee is as girl-next-door as they come, and the author does a beautiful job illustrating how multicultural families are American. The writing is crisp, descriptive, and totally accessible to transitional readers. Clara uses words like "un-cheer-up-able" which is as kid-friendly as it gets.
Pros: Realistic characters, an all-American story, and excellent writing make this a must-read choice for young readers.
Borrow or Buy: Buy! This is a lovely story that will call to young girls to read again and again - especially when they want to hold a little good luck in their hands.
Educational Themes: This is an enjoyable read as a family. It opens the door to talk about your family life and your cultural background. There are themes of sibling rivalry, superstitions, friendship (and apologies), and (though subtly) bigotry. You might ask your reader how they would answer the question about what makes their town/neighborhood special.
Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up an Advance Review Copy of this book at the American Library Association Conference. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.
Literary Categories: Fiction - family, Korean American, growing up
Date(s) Reviewed: October 2010, August 2014
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.