Sam and the Lucky Money

( 4 )

Overview

Sam can hardly wait to go shopping with his mom. It's Chinese New Year's day and his grandparents have given him the traditional gift of lucky money–red envelopes called leisees (lay-sees). This year Sam is finally old enough to spend it any way he chooses. Best of all, he gets to spend his lucky money in his favorite place — Chinatown! But when Sam realizes that his grandparents' gift is not enough to get the things he wants, his excitement turns to disappointment. Even though his mother reminds him that he ...
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Overview

Sam can hardly wait to go shopping with his mom. It's Chinese New Year's day and his grandparents have given him the traditional gift of lucky money–red envelopes called leisees (lay-sees). This year Sam is finally old enough to spend it any way he chooses. Best of all, he gets to spend his lucky money in his favorite place — Chinatown! But when Sam realizes that his grandparents' gift is not enough to get the things he wants, his excitement turns to disappointment. Even though his mother reminds him that he should appreciate the gift, Sam is not convinced — until a surprise encounter with a stranger. With vivid watercolor paintings, artists Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu celebrate the sights and sounds of festive Chinatown streets. In her picture book debut, author Karen Chinn tells the affecting story of a child who discovers that sometimes the best gifts come from the heart. Sam can hardly wait to go shopping with his mom. It's Chinese New Year's day and his grandparents have given him the traditional gift of lucky money–red envelopes called leisees (lay-sees). This year Sam is finally old enough to spend it any way he chooses. Best of all, he gets to spend his lucky money in his favorite place — Chinatown! But when Sam realizes that his grandparents' gift is not enough to get the things he wants, his excitement turns to disappointment. Even though his mother reminds him that he should appreciate the gift, Sam is not convinced — until a surprise encounter with a stranger. With vivid watercolor paintings, artists Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu celebrate the sights and sounds of festive Chinatown streets. In her picture book debut, author Karen Chinn tells the affecting story of a child who discovers that sometimes the best gifts come from the heart.

Sam must decide how to spend the lucky money he's received for Chinese New Year.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A Chinese American boy gives his New Years' gift money to a homeless man. Subtle, sunny watercolors accurately render the boy's emotions and the Chinatown setting. Ages 3-9.(Sept.)
Children's Literature - Armin Brott
Every year, Sam's grandparents celebrate the Chinese New Year by giving him "lucky money": brand new dollar bills, each inside a special red envelope called a leisee. This year he got four dollars, and he can spend it any way he wants. So Sam and his mother go to Chinatown, a place so crowded with New Year's shoppers that Sam accidentally steps on a homeless man, barefoot and dirty. It doesn't take long for Sam to discover that four dollars won't go as far as he'd like-not even close to enough for the basketball he's got his eye on. On the way back home a frustrated and pouting Sam again meets the homeless man. And he realizes that to this dirty, barefoot human being four dollars is a fortune. This book's beautiful watercolor illustrations mesh perfectly with the text to capture the color, bustle, and excitement of Chinatown at New Year's. Overall, Sam and the Lucky Money is a wonderfully subtle story about the importance of money and the rewards of giving charity.
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Initially disappointed that his Chinese New Year money is too meager to buy desired toys, Sam generously decides to share his gift with a homeless stranger. Vibrant paintings capture details of Chinatown-bakery, dancing lion, Chinese characters on signs.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Sam receives four bright red envelopes decorated with shiny gold emblems as part of the traditional Chinese New Year celebration, each containing a dollar. As he accompanies his mother through Chinatown, his anticipation of how to spend it diminishes when he realizes that the ``lucky money'' won't buy as much as he had hoped. His mood is further sobered after an encounter with a man he stumbles upon in the street. He nobly, though not surprisingly, concludes that his four dollars would be best spent on the barefoot stranger. Though the traditional message that it is better to give than to receive will be apparent to adults immediately, it is handled in a genuine, thoughtful manner that will be realistic to children. Detailed descriptions of the sights and sounds of the New Year celebration build in contrast to Sam's growing introspection, becoming even more dramatic and adding to the depth of the story. The illustrators masterfully combine Chinatown's exotic setting with the universal emotions of childhood through expressive portraits of the characters.-Starr LaTronica, Four County Library System, Vestal, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880000533
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1995
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 164,348
  • Age range: 7 years
  • Lexile: AD660L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.52 (w) x 9.92 (h) x 0.11 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2011

    Recommended - very good book!

    I used this book for a group of 5 - 6 year olds as we studied Chinese culture in literature. The children enjoyed the story. Sam gets his Chinese New Year leisees from his gaandparents and can spend them on something of his own choosing for the first time (in the past he had to spend it on socks or a notebook). As he attends festivities in China Town, he sees a homeless man with no socks or shoes. He hurries away and tries to decide if he will spend his money on treats or a new toy. He sees the traditional lion dance of the Chinese New Year and discovers $4.00 does not go very far when you look at it with selfish eyes. At the end he discovers how rich he truly is when he gives it to the homeless man so he can buy socks for his feet. The book helped me introduce some chinese new year traditions to my class, while sharing a story of selfless giving by a little boy close to their own age.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2005

    one of my first First grade books

    i really liked this book. i remember it from 1st grade!! it was cool

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2010

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