The Year of the Dog

The Year of the Dog

4.2 65
by Grace Lin
     
 

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Frustrated at her seeming lack of talent for anything, a young Taiwanese American girl sets out to apply the lessons of the Chinese Year of the Dog, those of making best friends and finding oneself, to her own life.  See more details below

Overview

Frustrated at her seeming lack of talent for anything, a young Taiwanese American girl sets out to apply the lessons of the Chinese Year of the Dog, those of making best friends and finding oneself, to her own life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lin, best known for her picture books, here offers up a charming first novel, an autobiographical tale of an Asian-American girl's sweet and funny insights on family, identity and friendship. When her family celebrates Chinese New Year, ringing in the Year of the Dog, Pacy (Grace is her American name) wonders what the coming months will bring. Her relatives explain that the Year of the Dog is traditionally the year when people "find themselves," discovering their values and what they want to do with their lives. With big expectations and lots of questions, the narrator moves through the next 12 months trying to figure out what makes her unique and how she fits in with her family, friends and classmates. Pacy experiences some good luck along the way, too, winning a contest that will inspire her career (Lin's fans will recognize the prize submission, The Ugly Vegetables, as her debut children's book). Lin creates an endearing protagonist, realistically dealing with universal emotions and situations. The well-structured story, divided into 29 brief chapters, introduces traditional customs (e.g., Hong Bao are special red envelopes with money in them, given as New Year's presents), culture and cuisine, and includes several apropos "flashback" anecdotes, mainly from Pacy's mother. The book's inviting design suggests a journal, and features childlike spot illustrations and a typeface with a hand- lettered quality. Girls everywhere, but especially those in the Asian-American community, will find much to embrace here. Ages 8-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Grace Lin writes the book as she invents a protagonist, Pacy, who must have been much like she was. Pacy is confused about her identity. She has a Taiwanese name at home, but at elementary school where she is the only Asian-American, she uses her American name, Grace. Her mom is Taiwanese. Her Dad is Chinese. Is she Taiwanese- Chinese-American? And what will she be when she grows up? Pacy knows The Year of the Dog will be lucky for her. It was the year in which she was born and her mom tells her "since dogs are honest and sincere, it's a good year to find yourself." Will she be a scientist? A writer? This readable short novel is even more approachable because of its amusing drawings and instructive family anecdotes. Knowing the character is based on the author's life makes it really interesting to check how everything worked out on the author's website, www.gracelin.com. 2006, Little Brown, Ages 7 to 10.
—Susie Wilde
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-A lighthearted coming-of-age novel with a cultural twist. Readers follow Grace, an American girl of Taiwanese heritage, through the course of one year-The Year of the Dog-as she struggles to integrate her two cultures. Throughout the story, her parents share their own experiences that parallel events in her life. These stories serve a dual purpose; they draw attention to Grace's cultural background and allow her to make informed decisions. She and her two sisters are the only Taiwanese-American children at school until Melody arrives. The girls become friends and their common backgrounds illuminate further differences between the American and Taiwanese cultures. At the end of the year, the protagonist has grown substantially. Small, captioned, childlike black-and-white drawings are dotted throughout. This is an enjoyable chapter book with easily identifiable characters.-Diane Eddington, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Being Taiwanese-American is confusing, and being the only Asian kid in your elementary school-except for your older sister-is not always comfortable. Pacy has high hopes for the Year of the Dog, which, she learns, is a year for finding friends and finding yourself. The friend comes first: a new girl, Melody, whose family is also Taiwanese-American. Over the course of the year, Pacy eats at Melody's house, where the food is familiar but also very different, celebrates her cousin's Red Egg day, writes a story for a national contest, visits Chinatown in New York City and wins a prize. Not only does she feel rich, she knows what she wants to do with her life. The Year of the Dog turns out exactly as advertised. Elementary school readers will enjoy the familiar details of school life and the less familiar but deliciously described Chinese holiday meals. Interspersed with the happenings of daily life are her mother's stories of Pacy's grandparents' lives and her own struggles as a new immigrant. Occasional black-and-white drawings by the author enliven the text. This comfortable first-person story will be a treat for Asian-American girls looking to see themselves in their reading, but also for any reader who enjoys stories of friendship and family life. (Fiction. 8-12)
From the Publisher
* "Lin does a remarkable job capturing the soul and spirit of books like those of Hayward or Maud Hart Lovelace, reimagining them through the lens of her own story, and transforming their special qualities into something new for today's young readers."—Booklist, starred review"

This comfortable first-person story will be a treat for Asian-American girls looking to see themselves in their reading, but also for any reader who enjoys stories of friendship and family life."—Kirkus"

Lin creates an endearing protagonist, realistically dealing with universal emotions and situations. Girls everywhere, but especially those in the Asian-American community, will find much to embrace here."—Publishers Weekly"

Entertaining and often illuminating."—The Horn Book

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316060004
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
02/28/2006
Series:
Pacy Lin Series
Pages:
144
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
690L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Year of the Dog


By Grace Lin

LITTLE BROWN FOR YOUNG READERS

Copyright © 2006 Grace Lin
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-316-06000-4


Chapter One

"HAPPY NEW YEAR!" DAD LAUGHED INTO THE phone. "Gong xi-gong xi! Xin-nian kuai le!" The phone had been ringing all night with relatives calling to wish us a happy Chinese New Year. If we had lived in Taiwan, we would be having a big dinner with all of our relatives-aunts, uncles, and cousins. But since we lived in New Hartford, New York, they called us instead.

"Yes," Dad said over the phone to Uncle Leo, "happy Year of the Dog!"

"What does it mean when it's the Year of the Dog?" I asked. Our kitchen was full of rich, heavy smells because Mom and Lissy were cooking the special Chinese New Year dinner. I was teaching Ki-Ki how to draw a dog for our decorations. "I know every Chinese New Year is a different animal, but is something special supposed to happen because it's the Year of the Dog?"

"Yes," Lissy told me, nodding her head so hard that her black hair swung back and forth. Lissy always thought she knew everything. "You know how they say a dog is a man's best friend? Well, in the Year of the Dog you find your best friends."

"That's true," Mom said, her hands mixing speckled brown meat, "because dogs are faithful. They say the Year of the Dog is the year for friends and family. But there's more to it than that. The Year of the Dog is also for thinking. Since dogs are also honest and sincere, it's a good year to find yourself."

"Find myself?" Ki-Ki said. "Why? I'm not lost."

We all laughed and Mom tried to explain.

"No," she said, "finding yourself means deciding what your values are, what you want to do-that kind of thing."

"Like deciding what you want to be when you grow up?" I asked.

"Yes." Mom nodded her head.

"Well," Lissy said, "I've decided I'm definitely NOT going to be a chef, because I'm tired of cooking. We still have to make the shrimp, the pork, and the vegetables. We're never going to eat!" "We will, we will," Mom said, and she looked at the clock. "Pacy, stop drawing and go fill the New Year tray." I went to the cabinet and took out the New Year tray. We had polished it so much that I could see myself shining in the red and black wood. I also took out a bag of the special Chinese New Year candy. It's very important that the New Year tray is filled with candy. If it's full of sweet things, it means your year will be full of sweet things.

Ki-Ki hung up our drawings and then came over to help me, though she didn't really help much. All she did was eat the candy. She loved New Year's candy. I don't know why. It isn't real candy like chocolate or lollipops. New Year's candy is sticky taffy melon candy, the color of the moon. Ki-Ki kept eating the candy, so I couldn't fill the whole tray. I looked in the cupboard for more, but there wasn't any more. But there were rainbow- colored M&M's. I loved M&M's. That's real candy. So I fitted the rest of the tray with that.

When Lissy saw the tray, her mouth made a big 0. "You can't fill the tray with M&M's," she told me. "It's a Chinese tray; only Chinese candy is supposed to go in it."

"But there's not enough Chinese candy to fill it," I told her.

We both looked at the tray. We couldn't decide if it was better to have the tray be half empty with only Chinese candy or full with Chinese and American candy.

Mom was frying food, so we took the tray to Dad. He scooped up a big handful of Chinese candy and M&M's and ate it.

"This way is good," he said. "We should have both Chinese and American candy for the new year. It's just like us-Chinese-American. I think it's going to be a very sweet year!"

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin Copyright © 2006 by Grace Lin. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

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 www.gracelin.com.

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Year of the Dog 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Two young friends, Grace and Melody,hope the the year of the dog will bring them good luck and fortune. Grace also hopes that this will be the year she discovers her talent. Short chapters, clever illustrations and neat stories told by Grace's Mom make this a good book to read in your spare time. Girls might like this book a little better than boys.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a super great book. Grace Lin is super awesome and her memiors are cool, funny, and interesting with her multicultural family. This seiries is great and thia book is the best out of all of them. When Grace was about 10 she had a good friend named Melody. She was asian too. They both knew that the year of the dog meant changes and Lin captures the true spirit of making friends and being different.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great. It inspires you to find yourself and write a book. It shows a family with a great bond. I love the stories inside the story.This story is quite heartwarming and has an extraordinary idea.It inspires girls to take challenges even if they dont win. Grace aka. Pacy went through contests many times she did not give up until she won. Sisters would love to read this book together or alone.Even if you dont have a sister you will love it.This book is one you can not stop reading.All girls will enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What I really liked about this book is that it explained some of the Chinese culture which was very interesting. What I liked best about their culture is that on the Chinese New Year they had real Chinese food and they filled their trays with candy. It was like a little party.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
That is the best
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A heartwarming adventure about culture,family, friends, and hope throuh tough situations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book I have read it and loved it is a great book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Greaat book I Like this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You must read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. It is about a girl named Minli and a dragon. They are trying to change Minli's poor fortune.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now i know how to make a dog by starting off with the number five i give this book a 1,000,000 out of1,000,000
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boring. I am Vietnamese American, and we share many of the same cultures as Taiwanese Americans. I hate the fact that she complaned about the brown rice. Brown rice is healthier and not processed. Also, her drawings seem stiff, and she is a whiny child who just assumes everyone knows what everything is. The plot was bad, and falling apart. To simplify: the publishsr never should have published this book. I feel ashamed that I read it. Not should have been a Texas Bluebonnet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very good book. I also love all of the stories in side of the story!!:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it!!! Such a good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in third grade and we all enjoyed it and read the following book year of te rat. A good read for kids 8-11
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
EGHunter01 More than 1 year ago
This novel is a charming and entertaining way to learn some Taiwanese and Chinese cultural events and celebrations. What is a red egg party for? What does "Ja-be, bei?" mean? Whose parent is a botanist? What is a botanist? And what experiment was performed in the novel? What does TAC stand for? And what happened at TAC? These and many other intriguing questions are answered within the storyline of "The Year of the Dog." Also the short stories throughout the novel are fascinating and interesting, and definitely should capture your imagination. *Enjoyable, easy-to- read, and easy-to-comprehend storyline with engaging characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bhavin V Mehta More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome for children and even adults. I love how it is pacys (grace:) diary. In short this is an awesome novel so enjoy it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago