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by Grace Lin


School Library Journal:

Gr 3–5— This compact sequel to The Year of the Dog (Little, Brown, 2006) charts an eventful year, based on the author’s own childhood. As the story opens, Pacy (who uses an American name, Grace, at school) is celebrating Chinese New Year with her family and friends. Their gatherings always center on food and the delightful stories her parents tell of their lives in Taiwan and of coming to America. As Pacy’s dad relates the story of the rat and the Chinese zodiac, her mother notes that the Year of the Rat is a time for making changes. Change quickly becomes the hallmark of the protagonist’s year: her best friend moves to California, and Pacy must adjust to a new teacher and new relationships. When a boy from China arrives at her school, her classmates tease him for being different. Pacy watches guiltily until she finds the courage to speak up for him. Lin’s handling of the situation as related through a child’s perspective is graceful and sensitive. Young readers will find this episodic, character-driven short novel appealing and relate to its authentically childlike Pacy, whose family’s Thanksgiving feast includes both huo guo (Chinese hot pot) dishes and a small turkey. Lin’s plentiful detailed line drawings add to the story’s appeal. This heartwarming sequel will leave readers hoping for more about this engaging heroine and her family.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA –Marilyn Taniguchi (Reviewed March 1, 2008) (School Library Journal, vol 54, issue 3, p170)


3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, Cultural Differences, Family, Friendship