children's books

Great Soybean Picnic.jpg

auntie yang's great soybean picnic

Kirkus review

“More warm family memories from the Chinese-American creators of Mahjong All Day Long (2005), with cheery illustrations painted on ceramic plates.

“The treasured weekend visits with Auntie and Uncle Yang that help an immigrant family cope with feelings of isolation take on a new wrinkle when Auntie Yang spots a field of soybeans on a Sunday drive. Mao dou were considered animal food in this country at the time but widely consumed in China. The armloads of plants that the friendly farmer allows her to bring home begin an annual picnic tradition. It eventually expands to include many Chicago-area families with, as the young narrator notes, ‘lots of kids just our ages who all spoke Chinese as badly as we did!’ Years later, a long-awaited reunion between Auntie Yang and her sibs from China closes these memories of good times and mouth-watering Chinese food on a joyful note. The simply drawn scenes of busy, festive groups reflect the narrative’s happy tone, and they are capped with old snapshots from past gatherings in the afterword.

“The pleasure of finding unexpected links between a new country and the old suffuses this autobiographical outing.” – Read the full review.

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mahjong all day long

Booklist Starred Review (February 15, 2005)
“… the Lo sisters’ effort, like the best of Maira Kalman’s work, speaks directly to kids, who will want to procure a mahjong set posthaste. For their part, teachers will love the historical endnote, the subject matter that suggests itself for classroom activities, and the intergenerational themes …”

Inside Oregon (March 14, 2005)
“… a delightful tale tailored for youngsters age 3 to 8 …” “The book came from memories of my extended Chinese family’s never-ending mahjong sessions,” Lo says.

The Asian Reporter’s Book Reviews (June 7, 2005)
“Early readers and their grown-ups can share this story whether or not they play mahjong. … packed with fascinating information about the game, including its history, the meaning of the word mahjong, and rudimentary instructions for playing … the Lo sisters’ first book. Let’s hope there are many more to come.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer (June 16, 2005)
“… this story is full of sensory details that make this close-knit Chinese family come alive.”

The San Francisco Chronicle (August 28, 2005)
“You can practically hear those mahjong tiles clicking on the table as you turn the bright red and glossy black pages. … a lovely tribute to one arena where different generations come together.”

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