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Children's LiteratureAs she has done in her three previous books, Lee uses a simple story to introduce written Chinese characters. Here she sets her tale in the fall, so she has now covered all four seasons in her books. Young Xiao Ming is going to visit a farm with his mother and some friends. As they observe the harvesting of grain, the vegetables in the fields, the pigs, he shows how the Chinese characters relate and interrelate to the words they represent. Then it is time for lunch and his favorite food, rice. Lee uses cut-paper collage to create very attractive and thoughtfully-designed double-page scenes. She exploits the various patterns and textures of rice papers for backgrounds and other papers for the people and other objects. The simplified farm scenes are invested with the youthful vitality of the youngsters. Lee demonstrates how the calligraphy symbols take their shapes from the natural objects in effective and esthetically pleasing ways. There is a pronunciation guide as well. 2005, Henry Holt and Company, Ages 5 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz