By: Lisa Bullard
Illustrated by: Katie Saunders
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Publication Date: April 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: February 20, 2012
Chelsea smiled as she watched her family prepare for Chinese New Year. Her dad was unpacking the decorations and hanging them around the house. There were red lanterns strung along the wall, a new plant had been purchased, and there were candles peeking out from a box. Chelsea's dad said that the Chinese New Year "is China's most important holiday," but lots of people celebrate it in the United States, including her family. The mop was out, dad was dusting, and mom was vacuuming. Everyone was busy, busy, busy cleaning the house to get rid of "last year's bad luck."
Red was a lucky color and they were going to shop for some new clothes. Later that night Chelsea put on her red dress and excitedly looked at all the decorations at her grandparents' house. There was a bowl of oranges and a red card on a shelf along with the lanterns and candles. There was lots of excitement as the cousins played games and awaited the celebration. Chelsea's laughter kept her awake and she hoped she'd be able to join in the feast at midnight. There were special dumplings, fish, oranges, noodles, and all kinds of goodies. Would she be able to stay awake and hear the "firecrackers snap" and watch the fireworks?
The charming, whimsical artwork meshes well with this tale and illustrates many details about the holiday that children may be unfamiliar with. Everyone is anxious for the feast to begin, including little children. There are numerous informative sidebars that discuss other customs surrounding this special holiday. For example, we learn that "Children often receive many red envelopes during Chinese New Year" and from whom. In the back of the book is an index, a glossary, a discussion about the Chinese calendar, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: This is a fun look at how Chelsea and her family celebrate Chinese New Year.