The team behind Henry's First-Moon Birthday here follows a boisterous modern-day Chinese family through a traditional wedding and again lets readers in on some unusual customs. Jen once again narrates, teaching about such traditions as bargaining for the bride ("to show how much [the groom will] give for her love")-but with a heavy dose of humor ("First Uncle Peter offers bus tokens. Then an earring")-and bridal clothing ("red red red to bring good luck"). But between the lines, she also reveals her sadness about losing her best buddy-Uncle Peter-to someone else ("I'm his special girl. Just me. I am the jelly on his toast. And the leaves in his tea. Now, I am an umbrella turned inside out"). Nothing seems to go Jen's way: her cousins get candy, while she's left with tofu chips, and during the wedding pictures she feels like "cosmic dust." Fortunately the happy-go-lucky artwork echoes the day's joyous mayhem and provides a clue that she won't be unhappy for long. Heo decorates the pages with background details that tie in with the text-toast with jelly, cooing lovebirds, entwined rings and even the heroine's miserable expression. While the book is a fascinating look at Chinese wedding rituals, it's a standout because of its appealing narrator. With her true-to-life voice, Jen conveys real feeling-making her a memorable model to kids facing change. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Jenny's Uncle Peter is getting married to Stella, but Jenny is losing an uncle not gaining an aunt. She pouts through the pictures, misses the good seats in the car, gets the tofu chips and not the candy as a treat, and is generally out of sorts. Even worse, everyone is fussing over the bride and groom and no one is paying attention to her until she pours the fresh tea down the sink and substitutes water that the bride unknowingly pours. Nevertheless, all turns out in the end when Stella quietly asks Jenny to do a special thing: release the butterflies when she and Peter drive off. Jenny rises to the occasion. Uncle Peter calls her his special girl once again, and she whispers to Stella, "Welcome to the family." This gentle story presents many of the traditions of a Chinese wedding and explains customs including hungbau, or good luck money. Readers may remember Jenny from the charming Henry's First-Moon Birthday by Look and Heo. Heo's primitive, cheerfully rendered characters are set against a background of surprises. Jenny's tightly braided hairdo makes it easy to spot her in this big family event. A first-rate sequel that will make readers look forward to the next installment of Jenny and Henry's family adventures. 2005, Anne Schwartz/Atheneum, Ages 3 to 7.
Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
K-Gr 3-Jenny, who first appeared as an energetic big sister in Henry's First-Moon Birthday (S & S, 2001), is back, participating in her uncle's nuptials. The child loves being his "special girl" and is having difficulty with the idea of sharing him with a new aunt. Look perfectly captures the child's envy and jealousy as the bride becomes the center of attention. As the family gathers to celebrate, readers learn about many of the traditions associated with the ceremony, including bargaining for the bride, wearing red for good luck, and bed-jumping. The busy day has a sweet resolution as Stella chooses Jenny to release a box full of butterflies and thanks her for sharing her uncle. The child responds with a hug and welcomes the bride into the family. Heo's child-inspired illustrations contribute to the story's strong appeal with lively colors, perspectives, and details that accentuate both Jenny's feelings and the wedding traditions. A delightful invitation to learn more about Chinese traditions.-Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In this feel-good companion to Henry's First-Moon Birthday (2001), young Jenny participates in a favorite uncle's wedding-unhappily, until she's given an attitude-altering task to perform in it. Reflecting both events and Jenny's mood with repeated small images scattered about the flat backgrounds, Heo's stylized illustrations portray the happy couple, surrounded by relatives, engaging in a series of modern takes on traditional rituals and customs, to which Jenny's commentary adds detail: "At last comes the fun part-the bed-jumping ceremony that ends the sleepy half of the wedding." Jenny's effort to sabotage the whole event causes only a temporary halt, and after the bride gives her a box of butterflies to release, the day ends, as it should, with loving smiles and hugs. Children of any culture will accept with pleasure Look's invitation to witness this distinctive iteration of a universal life event. (Picture book. 6-8)