Angel in Beijing

illus. by Belle Yang. 32p. Candlewick. Jul. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763692704.
K-Gr 2—A modern girl living in Beijing bonds with a white cat who was startled into her courtyard by the New Year's Eve firecrackers. Tooling around the city, Kitty endearingly answers "niaow-niaow" to the "trrring-trrring" of the unnamed girl's bicycle bell. However, Kitty takes flight over a wall on the tails of a kite at the Dragon Boat Festival. Unable to find the feline, the girl roams the more traditional city landmarks, ringing her bicycle bell. One day, Kitty answers back and the girl finds her comfortably at home with a lonely old lady. The girl kindly promises to visit both of her new friends often, leaving the cat there. The glorious illustrations overshadow the slightly awkward text. Written in the present tense, the sentence structure is repetitive, and the proper names of places and occasional Chinese words may challenge unfamiliar readers. On the other hand, soft curving shapes mixed with bold white and black outlines keep the visuals lively. The lines are gentle and brushlike while the fills have only the barest hint of texture for a flowing sense to the images.
VERDICT A visual feast that introduces the sights of Beijing with a tender, thoughtful story in the background.

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