It's the Chinese New Year, and the Chang Family has only enough rice flour to make one nián-gão, a special New Year's rice cake, for the entire family to eat. But this delicious little nián-gão has other ideas. "Ai yo! I don't think so!" it cries, coming to life and escaping.
Ming, Cong, little Da and their parents chase the nián-gão all over the village until it runs into a hungry, old woman and sends her tumbling to the ground. Though Da is a small boy, his heart is big enough to share the treat with her, even though that leaves Da's family with nothing to eat for their own celebration. But the Changs' generosity doesn't go unnoticed. When they return home, they find the Kitchen God has left a wonderful surprise for them.
Ying Chang Compestine's heartwarming story conveys an important and poignant message about sharing and compassion. Tungwai Chau's soft and evocative illustrations complete this tender holiday story.
About the Author
Ying Chang Compestine was born in Wuhan, China, and came to the U.S. when she was twenty-three. Growing up in China during the lean years of the Cultural Revolution, Ying often dreamed of the kind of Chinese New Year celebrated in this book. Aside from playing with her young son and his friends, Ying loves to write, cook, eat, and travel. Consequently, she spends a lot of time writing stories for children and cookbooks for adults. She lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and son.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a great story with the elements of a folktale, about a Chinese New Year celebration that goes awry when the rice cake (nian-gao) comes to life and runs away from a hungry family, who decide to share it with a needy stranger, and are rewarded when their unselfish generosity rebounds back onto them. A great choice to introduce children ages 5-8 to the Chinese New Year celebration, it includes a page about traditional celebrations, and a recipe for the rice cake mentioned in the story. The only problem with the book is that there is not a lot of contrast between the text and the beige background, but the acrylic illustrations are simple yet expressive. Recommended for storytime, as the text lends itself to oral storytelling.