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Narrated by a contemporary African-American girl, this wordy story tries too hard to bridge cultures by making a traditional Chinese custom acceptable to the child's skeptical black grandmother. At a parade celebrating the Chinese New Year, Sugar and Grandma watch the dance of a bouncing, colorful dragon whose bright cloth is held on poles by Daddy, identifiable only by his red shoelaces, and a diverse crew of community members. After Sugar ties her father's shoelaces, the bumpy dragon finds its rhythm. While the bright, watercolor paintings convey the dragon's initial clumsiness, much of the two-dimensional art in the naive style lacks a focal point to attract readers' eyes. The story of making the dragon dance is a thin metaphor for multiculturalism: "It takes a while to learn to dance together," Daddy concludes at the end of the parade. The book's didactic message may be most useful in collections with a need for picture books about Chinese-American and African-American relations.
—Julie R. RanelliCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.