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Summary: A young girl is traveling from her rural village to Shanghai to spend time with her aunt. She shares each of the moments of her day, from when she first wakes until well after the sun goes down and it is time for bed. This bilingual picture book offers both English and Chinese text to describe daily life in China.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 10
Interest Level: 3 to 8
Reading Level: 3.5
Age of Child: Read with and by a 9-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: The expressions on the girl's face are what kept my daughter interested in this book. She asked questions about the Chinese words (congee) and was confused by some of the events. Why would you get a foot massage after dinner?
Adult Reader Reaction: I enjoyed the mixed media illustrations more than the text. It is surprising to see that this is a third-grade level reader, as it seems more stilted and choppy than what I would expect for older readers. Although some of the Chinese words are easy to recognize (Tai Chi) or sound out (Kwan Yin), others are not (Avolokitesvara). If this is a book for young readers to read, then phonetics would be a tremendous help.
Pros: Photographs of famous places in China create a strong background for a young girl's story that contrasts her life in rural China with her Aunt's busy life in China.
Cons: The author provides lots of details in the back of the book, but for readers who know little about China and think this is "just" a picture book, they won't know to look in the back for this information.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a lovely book that should be shared to help widen a child's perspective of life in other parts of the world. It is more suitable for the school or public library than a personal home library.
Educational Themes: On the back cover, the author explains that the book illustrates the contrast between "old China" (insular) and the new China (participating in the world). That theme is evident and this is a book you can use to parse to find examples of both. For Chinese people learning English or English-speakers learning Mandarin Chinese, it is an opportunity to practice your language skills.
Notes: The publicist representing the author donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub® for review consideration because we provide an independent, unbiased profiles. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book series, bilingual, Chinese, traditions and culture, geography