A Sweet New Year for Ren by Michelle Sterling, illustrated by Dung Ho

Published by Simon and Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books

Summary:  Ren is excited to be getting ready for the Lunar New Year.  There’s plenty of food to prepare, but every time Ren asks to help, she’s told that she is too little (even though she has recently grown two inches!).  Finally, her big brother Charlie comes home, and he has the patience to gently guide Ren through making pineapple cakes.  She is happy when the family sits down to the holiday dinner that she has made something to contribute.  After dinner, everyone gathers outside to watch the fireworks.  Includes an author’s note at the beginning about her connection to Lunar New Year and a recipe for pineapple cakes at the end.  32 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  A happy introduction to Lunar New Year, narrated by an enthusiastic young girl who loves the holiday and her family.  The cheerful illustrations will help readers visualize the different foods and decorations.

Cons:  I thought there would be more of a plot resolution around Ren being repeatedly told that she was too little.

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