This book is a visual treat that delights the senses with bright colors, fun patterns and designs, and lively cultural images. The story is a charming and heartwarming slice of life tale told from Maomao’s perspective. Maomao is a little girl living in China preparing for the New Year‘s celebration. Though the characters are fictional, the author gives us a realistic glimpse at how some families experience this holiday. In this story, “Papa” works far away from home and only comes to visit during the New Year. That is a reality for many Chinese migrant workers who have jobs hundreds of miles from home. They travel home infrequently and sometimes only once a year for the Chinese New Year holiday.
At first I was concerned that the story line might be too long to hold a young child’s attention but the author and illustrator do a great job of using big picture spreads and including just enough action on each page to move the story along. We take an emotional ride with Maomao as she experiences excitement, fear, anticipation, joy, and sadness. All’s well that ends well and Maomao makes sure this story ends just right!
Whether you plan to celebrate the Chinese New Year or not, this story is worth sharing with children any time of year. It’s full of everyday emotions and family dramas and can prompt engaging conversations at home or at school.
A New Year’s Reunion is available as a paperback and it is also included in Becker’s Multicultural Book Set: New Friends and New Places. Each book in this set takes us on a journey to learn about cultures, families, and traditions that may be the same or different than our own.
Reviewed by Leslie S. Eslinger, Education and Product Specialist, Becker's School Supplies