This Next New Year

Janet S. Wong

Published by Frances Foster Books - Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000
ISBN 10: 0374355037 / ISBN 13: 9780374355036
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Synopsis: Celebrating the Chinese New Year

A young boy looks forward to Chinese New Year - also known as the Lunar New Year, the day of the first new moon. It is a time of hope, and you don't have to be Chinese to celebrate it! His best friend, Glenn, who is French and German, and his cousin Evelyn, part Hopi and part Mexican, like the food and the envelopes of money, while he celebrates the fresh start the day offers. He cleans the house to make room for luck, and is glad the palms of his hands itch - that means he is coming into money. Most of all, he vows not to say things such as "can't do / don't have / why me" because he has dreams he is ready to make come true. Janet S. Wong's spare, lyrical couplets voice a child's determination to face the new year with courage and optimism. Yangsook Choi captures the spirit of celebration in her vibrant, energetic pictures.

Review: A spunky young boy makes plans for "this next new year" in Janet S. Wong's festive, truly engaging story of the Chinese Lunar New Year, celebrated annually in late January or early February. "And all day tomorrow, Lunar New Year's Day, I will not say one awful thing, none of that can't do/don't have/why me because this is it, a fresh start, my second chance, and I have so many dreams I'm ready now to make come true." So he flosses his teeth and helps his mom scrub the house "rough and raw so it can soak up good luck like an empty sponge," and plans to be brave when his family sets off firecrackers at midnight. The Chinese Korean boy tells us, in a funny, fresh, first-person voice, how his best friends, a German French boy and a Hopi Mexican girl, like to celebrate the Chinese New Year, too. Yangsook Choi's artfully composed, action-packed paintings add uplifting color to the happy spirit of the holiday, and an author's note provides more details about the Chinese New Year and Wong's childhood memories of the celebration. This delightful picture book makes a fine addition to the small collection of Chinese New Year books, distinguishing itself with the narrator's endearingly persistent quest for luck: "They say you are coming into money / when your palms itch, / and my palms have been itching for days. / My brother thinks it's warts, / but I know luck is coming." (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter

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Title: This Next New Year
Publisher: Frances Foster Books - Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: 2000
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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