Reviews for Year Of The Dog

Booklist Reviews 2006 January #1
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 3-5. When Lin was a girl, she loved the Betsy books by Carolyn Hayward, a series about a quintessentially American girl whose days centered around friends and school. But Lin, a child of Taiwanese immigrants, didn't see herself in the pages. Now she has written the book she wished she had as a child. Told in a simple, direct voice, her story follows young Grace through the Year of the Dog, one that Grace hopes will prove lucky for her. And what a year it is! Grace meets a new friend, another Asian girl, and together they enter a science fair, share a crush on the same boy, and enjoy special aspects of their heritage (food!). Grace even wins fourth place in a national book-writing contest and finds her true purpose in life. Lin, who is known for her picture books, dots the text with charming ink drawings, some priceless, such as one picturing Grace dressed as a munchkin. Most of the chapters are bolstered by anecdotes from Grace's parents, which connect Grace (and the reader) to her Taiwanese heritage. Lin does a remarkable job capturing the soul and the spirit of books like those of Hayward or Maud Hart Lovelace, reimagining them through the lens of her own story, and transforming their special qualities into something new for today's young readers. ((Reviewed January 1 & 15, 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2006 Fall
For Taiwanese-American Pacy, sorting out her ethnic identity is important, and she wonders what she should be when she grows up. Writing and illustrating a book for a national contest makes her think that perhaps she can become an author of a "real Chinese person book." Lin offers both authentic Taiwanese-American and universal childhood experiences, told from a genuine child perspective. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2006 #2
Pacy spends the Year of the Dog on a journey of self-discovery. Although sorting out her ethnic identity is important (she is Taiwanese-American in a largely non-Asian community), Pacy has another pressing question to answer: what should she be when she grows up? She likes coloring eggs for her new baby cousin Albert's Red Egg party -- maybe she will become a Red Egg colorer. Or how about a scientist (she and her best friend Melody get quite excited about their project for the science fair) or an actress (Pacy plays a munchkin in her school production of The Wizard of Oz)? Writing and illustrating her own book for a national contest makes her think that perhaps she can become an author of a "real Chinese person book." With a light touch, Lin offers both authentic Taiwanese-American and universal childhood experiences, told from a genuine child perspective. The story, interwoven with several family anecdotes, is entertaining and often illuminating. Appealing, childlike decorative line drawings add a delightful flavor to a gentle tale full of humor. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2005 December #2
Being Taiwanese-American is confusing, and being the only Asian kid in your elementary school--except for your older sister--is not always comfortable. Pacy has high hopes for the Year of the Dog, which, she learns, is a year for finding friends and finding yourself. The friend comes first: a new girl, Melody, whose family is also Taiwanese-American. Over the course of the year, Pacy eats at Melody's house, where the food is familiar but also very different, celebrates her cousin's Red Egg day, writes a story for a national contest, visits Chinatown in New York City and wins a prize. Not only does she feel rich, she knows what she wants to do with her life. The Year of the Dog turns out exactly as advertised. Elementary school readers will enjoy the familiar details of school life and the less familiar but deliciously described Chinese holiday meals. Interspersed with the happenings of daily life are her mother's stories of Pacy's grandparents' lives and her own struggles as a new immigrant. Occasional black-and-white drawings by the author enliven the text. This comfortable first-person story will be a treat for Asian-American girls looking to see themselves in their reading, but also for any reader who enjoys stories of friendship and family life. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 January #1

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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School Library Journal Reviews 2006 March

Gr 3-5 -A lighthearted coming-of-age novel with a cultural twist. Readers follow Grace, an American girl of Taiwanese heritage, through the course of one year-The Year of the Dog-as she struggles to integrate her two cultures. Throughout the story, her parents share their own experiences that parallel events in her life. These stories serve a dual purpose; they draw attention to Grace's cultural background and allow her to make informed decisions. She and her two sisters are the only Taiwanese-American children at school until Melody arrives. The girls become friends and their common backgrounds illuminate further differences between the American and Taiwanese cultures. At the end of the year, the protagonist has grown substantially. Small, captioned, childlike black-and-white drawings are dotted throughout. This is an enjoyable chapter book with easily identifiable characters.-Diane Eddington, Los Angeles Public Library

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