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A New Year's reunion
2011
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Author Notes
Yu Li Qiong was born in Anqing in the People's Republic of China in 1980. She holds a BA in literature from Nanjing University and an MA in dramatic art. Yu Li Qiong lives in China.<br> <br> Zhu Cheng Liang was born in Shanghai in 1948. He studied fine arts at Nanjing Art Institute and is currently deputy chief editor at the Jiangsu Fine Arts Publishing House. His achievements include an Honorable Mention by UNESCO's Noma Concours for his illustrations in Flashing Rabbit-shaped Lamp. Zhu Cheng Liang lives in China.
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Trade Reviews

  Publishers Weekly Review

Two things make this Chinese New Year story remarkable-Zhu's meticulously observed gouaches and the family's poignant backstory. On the cover, a small girl with black hair shows her parents a coin. But Maomao's father, who beams back at her, works far away, and the New Year holiday is the only time all year he gets to see her. They share simple holiday pleasures-Papa hides the lucky coin in a sticky rice ball, and Maomao finds it-but on the day Papa packs to go, a single gesture from Mama, captured with a cinematic eye by Zhu, shows the strain the family is under: she holds her hand up to her face and looks away. Maomao, meanwhile, displays both resilience and generosity: "Here, take this," she says, pressing her treasured lucky coin into Papa's hand as he leaves. "Next time you're back, we can bury it in the sticky rice ball again!" Yu and Zhu create a memorable portrait of China's most joyous holiday and a testimony to the love that holds Maomao's family together. Ages 3-5. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

  School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-Written and illustrated in mainland China and originally published in Taiwan, this book tells a story familiar to many rural Chinese children. Maomao's father "builds big houses in faraway places" and can only come home for Chinese New Year. On this occasion, Maomao takes a while to warm up to him. When she does, they make sticky rice balls, enjoy fresh snow, and watch the dragon dance. She finds a treasure, loses it, and then finds it again. When the holiday is over, she watches Mama pack Papa's bags and he leaves again. This bittersweet and poignant story not only tells of a family celebrating a holiday, but also explores the trepidation and joy of a reunion. Lively gouache illustrations show the New Year's celebrations as well as Maomao's initial shyness around her father and her sorrow at losing her treasure. The story of an absent parent returning only during special occasions is one that speaks to more and more American children. The celebrations and traditions might differ, but the story of missing distant family is universal.-Jennifer Rothschild, Prince George's County Memorial Library System, Oxon Hill, MD (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

Maomao's father is a Chinese construction worker in faraway places who comes home once a year at Chinese New Year. She describes what happens during his brief stay, from gifts and a fresh haircut to home repairs and preparation of sticky rice balls. When she loses her lucky coin, the inconsolable Maomao can think of nothing else until it reappears just before her father's departure. Despite the winter setting, the bright gouache illustrations radiate warmth, showing Maomao snuggled between her parents in bed and high on her father's shoulders watching the dragon dancers. Brilliant, saturated colors with prominent cardinal reds contrast with her father's dark, neutral-hued clothing. Maomao's narrative is restrained, but the affecting portraits at her father's departure speak volumes. Appropriate for Chinese New Year, this exceptional family story will move readers at any time of the year and will resonate especially with children whose parents must leave their families for long periods of time.--Perkins, Linda Copyright 2010 Booklist

  Horn Book Review

Little Maomao and her mother prepare both for Chinese New Year and for her father's return. He works far away and comes home only once a year. At first, he looks strange to Maomao, but after a haircut he seems more familiar. They make sticky rice balls (one with a fortune coin inside, which Maomao finds), listen to firecrackers, and watch a dragon dance. Papa works at repairing the house, and then three days later it is time for him to leave again. The story's dramatic peak comes when the fortune coin is lost and then found again, echoing the unstated sadness over Papa's departure and the promise of his eventual return next year. The gouache paintings use lots of red and bright colors, with design elements like stripes, squares, and dots in the characters' clothing and in the backgrounds, tying the pages together harmoniously. Winner of the Feng Zikai Chinese Children's Picture Book Award, this is an excellent introduction to Chinese New Year as it is celebrated in China and also a poignant and thoughtful examination of the joys and sorrows of families living apart. susan dove lempke (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Kirkus Review

(Picture book. 6-8)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2011!<br> <br> Maomao's dad works many miles away, but he is coming home for New Year! <br> <br> Little Maomao's father works in faraway places and comes home just once a year, for Chinese New Year. At first Maomao barely recognizes him, but before long the family is happily making sticky rice balls, listening to firecrackers, and watching the dragon dance in the streets below. Papa gets a haircut, makes repairs to the house, and hides a lucky coin for Maomao to find. Which she does! But all too soon it is time for Papa to go away again. This poignant, vibrantly illustrated tale, which won the prestigious Feng Zikai Chinese Children's Picture Book Award in 2009, is sure to resonate with every child who misses relatives when they are away--and shows how a family's love is strong enough to endure over time and distance.
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