Marisa, a seven-year-old Asian American girl who lives in Hawaii, explains the traditions that exist in her family to celebrate the New Year. Her family, which her grandmother calls "chop suey," or "all mixed up" in pidgin, consists of people who are Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Hawaiian, and haole (white person). Each New Year's Eve they gather at her grandmother's home to eat dumpling soup. The women come together to make the mandoo, or dumplings. Each woman has a different style, creating rectangles or triangles, pinching the edges to create a fancy effect, or using an extra amount of filling. Marisa worries that no one will want to eat her dumplings, since her first efforts at learning to wrap them "look a little funny." The New Year festivities -- a game of "shoe store" played with all the relatives' shoes, fireworks, and the privilege of staying up all night --temporarily divert Marisa from her dumpling anxiety. As the New Year begins, the first thing the family does is eat dumpling soup "so we won't go hungry for the rest of the year." Marisa's funny-looking dumplings are, of course, delicious, and along with them her relatives enjoy foods from many cultures represented in the family. A glossary of English, Hawaiian, Japanese, and Korean words provides pronunciations and definitions for many of the possibly unfamiliar terms that weave in and out of the text. A thoroughly enjoyable celebration of family warmth and diverse traditions, illustrated with cheery watercolors. (Ellen Fader, Hornbook)
Rattigan retells the Hawaiian legend of the woman in the moon. Hina is known to make the best tapa cloth in the islands. Her work is in great demand, and she receives no help from her husband. Many activities are forbidden to her because she is a woman. She longs for a new home where she can have the leisure to enjoy the beautiful world around her. Her search takes her to the top of a high mountain and to a rainbow. Finally, she is able to reach the moon. From there, as a goddess, she inspires Hawaiian artists, young and old. Rattigan's language is rich and concrete. The story has not been watered down for children and, as such, gives insight into the culture from which it springs. It reflects the roles of men and women in this society and shows a high regard for artists. Rattigan incorporates many Hawaiian words into the text, which adds to its flavor. Golembe's gouache paintings are flat in style and brightly colored, edged wtih patterns and figures used to decorate traditional tapa cloth. A glossary, an author's note, and sources are included. An interesting and striking addition to folklore collections. (Judith Gloyer, Milwaukee Public Library, in School Library Journal)
It's a good pun, mistaking "aunt" for "ant," and one that tickles young ears. Aunt Fran sends Truman a coupon for an ant farm for his birthday, but when he tries to redeem it, he is sent more than 50 aunts instead -- flattering aunts and funny aunts, aunts who bake and aunts who knit, gymnastic aunts and aunts who tickle -- and they just keep coming. His first problem is what to feed them; his second, to find the right nieces and nephews for them. It's a major project, but he manages to make all the right matches and ends up with the one who has it all -- Fran. (Sally Margolis, Deerfield Public Library, in School Library Journal)
Where to get them
DUMPLING SOUP,TRUMAN'S AUNT FARM and THE WOMAN IN THE MOON may be ordered from your favorite online bookstore.
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