The New York Times Book Review
- Sarah Harrison Smith
These cheerful stories, with their flat, '50s-style illustrations, tell an inescapable truth: twins have to negotiate everything.
Lin continues to work wonders within the early reader format in twins’ Ling and Ting’s birthday-themed second outing. In six stories, the girls receive birthday shoes, shop for presents, bake cakes, make wishes, open their gifts, and read a story. Despite working with a limited vocabulary, Lin infuses the twins’ every interaction with personality and understated humor, while underscoring the girls’ individuality. When baking, “Ling reads the cookbook very carefully. She mixes butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Ting does not read the cookbook carefully. She mixes butter, sugar, and eggs.” After the girls exchange gifts, they both hope the other will share hers—and don’t need to wait long: “Ling and Ting like their gifts. But they like the other’s gift a bit more.” Lin’s utterly cheerful, vintage-inspired gouache illustrations provide many opportunities for children to spot the differences between the twins, and the story’s final chapter, in which the girls read about the birthday adventures of a pair of twins named Ming and Sing (who aren’t nearly as good at sharing) is a triumph of metafiction. Ages 6–9. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Sept.)
"Simply written and engaging, the brief stories are well suited to beginning readers...An appealing addition to the Ling & Ting series."
The Horn Book
"While the book has a sweetly retro feel to it, Ling and Ting's adventures will appeal to contemporary audiences....Let's hope Lin continues to share with readers the further adventures of this dynamic duo."
New York Times Book Review
"These cheerful stories, with their flat, 50's-style illustrations, tell an inescapable truth: twins have to negotiate everything."
- Vicki Foote
Six stories about Ling and Ting, who are identical twins, are amusing and sweet, telling snippets of their lives surrounding their mutual birthdays. Written in simple sentences that would be appropriate for young children who are just starting to read chapter books, the first story is about their new shoes. One gets new green shoes and the other has new red shoes. They look at each other, and they decide that because they share the same birthday and so many other things, they should share their birthday shoes, too. They each exchange a shoe so that they have matching shoes. The next cute story tells about how they shop for a gift for each other. They each buy what they would like to have and later share the gifts with each other. A chapter about baking cakes shows their caring spirit. A sharing theme continues in the chapters about birthday wishes, gifts, and writing a story. Nice illustrations add to the pleasant nature of the book. Part of a series, "Ling and Ting," this book could be read aloud to younger children, and would be a good book for beginning independent readers. Reviewer: Vicki Foote
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Ling and Ting are back, applying their problem-solving skills and thinking exactly like real six-year-olds. The table of contents cleverly displays the titles of the six stories on layers of a luscious, pink cake. A single theme links the chapters, with such familiar birthday topics as gifts, baking, and wishes. When a gift of of new shoes arrives, each girl wears one from the red pair and one from the green so that they are dressed alike. One successful birthday cake and one burnt cake-no problem. Ling cuts hers in half to share with her twin. And when one of Ling's candles remains lit, Ting blows out hers and wishes that her sister will have a wish, too. The gouache rendering of the twins has a nostalgic charm, and Lin creates an innocent world in which children shop, bake, and move about town without adult intervention. Even though this is a short and simple early chapter book, the characters are fully developed and distinct, and children should be encouraged to infer the protagonists' traits. An excellent stand-alone purchase or addition for libraries already familiar with these endearing sisters.—Gloria Koster, West School, New Canaan, CT
Lin swaps her trademark cupcake for birthday cake in this cheery follow-up to Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same (2010). Sporting the same haircuts they received in the first book, Chinese-American identical twins Ling and Ting return with six short stories that center on preparations for their sixth birthday. "Birthday Shopping" reveals their playful humor as each girl tries to surprise the other by entering different stores. In the toy store, Ting selects a yo-yo that she obviously wants and hopes Ling will share, and in the bookstore, Ling does the same with a book that she hopes to read. Clever readers will notice that the bookstore carries many of Lin's titles and that Ling's selection is none other than a miniature-sized version of the original Ling & Ting. The girls' differing personalities and sisterly affection continue to shine in "Birthday Cakes." As they make their own birthday cakes (because of course, each girl needs her own), Ling carefully reads the cookbook, while Ting goes about the chore with spontaneity. When only Ling's cake is edible, she cuts it in half to share with Ting. The stories build on one another, culminating in their birthday wishes coming true. Once again Lin's richly colored gouache artwork, based on 1950s children's textbook illustrations, gives reason enough to celebrate. Tw-inspiring fiction for beginning readers. (Early reader. 5-8)
Grace Lin is the award-winning and bestselling author and illustrator of Starry River of the Sky, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, The Year of the Dog, The Year of the Rat, Dumpling Days, and Ling & Ting, as well as picture books such as The Ugly Vegetables and Dim Sum for Everyone! Grace is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and lives in Massachusetts. Her website is gracelin.com.