Ruby's Chinese New Year

illus. by Joey Chou. 40p. Holt/Godwin Bks. Jan. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250133380.
PreS-Gr 2—Chinese New Year is a time for family to get together. Sadly, this year, Ruby's grandmother isn't able to travel, so Ruby decides to draw a letter and deliver it herself. Along the road to her grandmother's, this bright young girl meets a succession of animals who decide to join her. Their journey presents obstacles, but thanks to cooperation and generosity, it all ends in celebration. Festive colors and pleasantly rounded digital images create a warmhearted tone that readers will love. Lee naturally weaves New Year's traditions into the narrative, demonstrating their inclusion, even if their importance isn't explained. While this story about a girl going to see her grandmother is original, it does incorporate elements from the zodiac myth; not only do the animals appear in their numerical order, the role of the river, and the cat's misfortune are also recounted. Some extra information about the Chinese New Year and the zodiac is appended along with a few easy-to-make crafts.
VERDICT An inviting adventure about the Chinese New Year, and the importance of spending it with family and friends. Best shared one-on-one and in small groups.

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