The Tray of Togetherness

Owlkids. Oct. 2022. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781771474627.
PreS-Gr 2–A young girl narrates her excitement and family’s preparations for a Lunar New Year celebration; in particular, gathering the eight foods for the Tray of Togetherness. She and her grandmother travel to the market to buy the symbolic foods, including candied kumquats for wealth and peanuts for a long life. On the way back, she gives away some of their goodies to friends and neighbors, sharing the holiday treats and wishes “From me, to you, and you!” Extended family and friends then gather, some on a computer screen, for the party she has been helping prepare for all day. Cozy illustrations showcase the warmth of the winter holiday. The bouncy rhythm and repetition of certain lines makes this a strong choice for reading aloud to young children. A brief author’s note at the end explains the Tray of Togetherness, a tradition not often highlighted in Lunar New Year picture books, to readers who are unfamiliar. The main character’s mother reads as East Asian, and her father as white; extended family and neighbors feature a range of skin tones.
VERDICT A sweet read focusing on a young child’s infectious excitement over holiday traditions. Recommended for most collections.

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