Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"A is for Asia, one-third of the earth," begins this fact-filled, fun alphabet book, which introduces readers to the vast and varied cultures of that continent-Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, Indian, Mongolian and more. Author and illustrator cover a lot of ground in portraying Asian peoples' day-to-day lives as well as the special occasions and arts that are unique to a particular country. Readers will delight in Heo's (The Green Frogs) paintings, jam-packed with quirky depictions of smiling children, animals, dancers, bowls of food, boats, kites, etc. Known for breaking with formal composition and color combinations, Heo also pays homage to traditional Asian artistic styles (lettering, one-dimensional picture planes). The predominance of yellow and gold tones gives the whole book a sunny, energetic feel. Together with Chin-Lee's graceful language and descriptions, Heo's illustrations make turning every page an adventure into contemporary and historical Asia. Each alphabet item is shown in context, helping to make unusual details and activities accessible for children. Information about different religious observances gives the book added value in the classroom. Key words are also spelled out in one of Asia's many languages, and a brief note on Asian languages is included. Ages 5-10. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
In this unique alphabet book, Chin-Lee and Heo present a multicultural view of the continent of Asia. From Saudi Arabian camel races to Id al-Noruz, the Persian New Year, the book presents various aspects of Asian culture through the letters of the alphabet. With lively illustrations and engaging prose, Chin-Lee and Heo provide a vivid, informative, and entertaining look into Asian life.
Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
For an artful sampling of the customs, crafts, creatures, and cuisine of more than half of the world's peoples, turn to Cynthia Chin Lee's A is for Asia. Each of the alphabetized subjects is written in both English and its Asian counterpart and whimsically illustrated in pencil, oil, and collage by Yumi Heo.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 3From the Middle East to northern Siberia, to China, Japan, and the Pacific Islands, the diversity of this vast continent is captured in childlike, stylized illustrations and 26 well-chosen words. Jade, kites, the monsoon, pandas, the Qur'an, water buffalo, and Zen are among the terms described in a decorative calligraphic type and pictured in gaily colored, naive, nonperspective drawings. Author and illustrator have created an attractive alphabet book that is useful for introducing Asia as a place of many different cultures, customs, languages, and climates.Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Chin-Lee combines facts about the vast continent of Asia with the ABC format in a book admirable for its ambitions.
The 26 short paragraphs offer scattered information on festivals, cultures, food, flora and fauna, beliefs, and more under headings such as "A is for Asia," "B is for batik," "C is for camels," "D is for dragon boats," etc., with the word for the main topic appearing in an appropriate language, either in a pictograph or in script (Asia is written in Tibetan, batik appears in Indonesian, etc.). The countries, many of which are mentioned throughout the book, appear on a map under "A is for Asia" that may be the best example of the continent's diversity (although it won't help children unearth the location of the Persian New Year celebration found under "I is for Id al- Noruz"). Heo's primitive art, alternating between gleefully folkloric large paintings and modestly informational spot illustrations, rounds out this jumping-off point for further study into an inexhaustible, riveting topic.