Thanksgiving at Obaachan's

Thanksgiving at Obaachan's

by Janet Mitsui Brown, Janet Mitsui Brown

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this title, as in Jama Kim Rattigan's Dumpling Soup (1993), an Asian American girl describes how her family uniquely celebrates a holiday. The narrator, who is Japanese American, begins promisingly: ``I stepped onto the dusty driveway as soon as our car stopped and headed straight for the sounds of laughter and familiar smells.'' Within, the girl describes Obaachan's (Grandmother's) Japanese-style house (``I saw her butsudan''--and the reader can identify the object in the illustration when told that ``the photograph of my late Ojiichan is in front of it''). The Thanksgiving table offers up turkey along with tsukemono; and Obaachan and her granddaughter readily surmount the language barrier. But Brown's loose, occasionally crude watercolors lack luster, and she fumbles in the text as well (would a child say ``I gazed at the familiar flowered pattern embossed on her cotton dress''?). Production values, too, are muddled: ``I put five of then on my fingers,'' reads a phrase in the finished book. Ages 3-8. (May)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
A Japanese-American girl goes to spend Thanksgiving with her obaachan (grandmother). The family has the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, peas, and stuffing plus the addition of rice and Japanese pickles and other Japanese delicacies. It doesn't matter that neither granddaughter or grandmother speak the other's language; the language they share is one of love. A good multicultural choice.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A Japanese-American girl tells about Thanksgiving at her grandmother's house. She does not speak Japanese, and Obaachan does not speak English, and the tale centers on their efforts at communication. Other relatives appear in the background, but the child's affection for her grandmother occupies center stage. A glossary of Japanese words is appended. The illustrations, naive watercolors, are at their best when depicting landscapes and interiors, including the objects and foods that give the story its cultural flavor. But the people are painted as caricatures, not as characters with genuine emotions. It is hard to imagine readers connecting with them, or enjoying the slight narrative, which lacks enough conflict to call it a story. This earnest attempt to foster multicultural understanding falls flat.-Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA

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Product Details

Polychrome Publishing Corporation
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Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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