The Year of the Dog

Grace Lin, Author
Grace Lin, Author . Little, Brown $14.99 (134p) ISBN 978-0-316-06000-4
Reviewed on: 01/02/2006
Release date: 12/01/2005
Paperback - 133 pages - 978-0-316-06002-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-4281-3362-4
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-4281-3357-0
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-316-03097-7
Prebound-Glued - 134 pages - 978-0-7569-8143-3
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-76980-8
Open Ebook - 94 pages - 978-0-316-14200-7
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Lin, best known for her picture books, here offers up a charming first novel, an autobiographical tale of an Asian-American girl's sweet and funny insights on family, identity and friendship. When her family celebrates Chinese New Year, ringing in the Year of the Dog, Pacy (Grace is her American name) wonders what the coming months will bring. Her relatives explain that the Year of the Dog is traditionally the year when people "find themselves," discovering their values and what they want to do with their lives. With big expectations and lots of questions, the narrator moves through the next 12 months trying to figure out what makes her unique and how she fits in with her family, friends and classmates. Pacy experiences some good luck along the way, too, winning a contest that will inspire her career (Lin's fans will recognize the prize submission, The Ugly Vegetables , as her debut children's book). Lin creates an endearing protagonist, realistically dealing with universal emotions and situations. The well-structured story, divided into 29 brief chapters, introduces traditional customs (e.g., Hong Bao are special red envelopes with money in them, given as New Year's presents), culture and cuisine, and includes several apropos "flashback" anecdotes, mainly from Pacy's mother. The book's inviting design suggests a journal, and features childlike spot illustrations and a typeface with a hand-lettered quality. Girls everywhere, but especially those in the Asian-American community, will find much to embrace here. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)

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