Allen Say, Author Walter Lorraine Books $17 (32p) ISBN 978-0-395-85895-0
A deep-gold jacket serves as a portrait frame for the title character's two pivotal moments in this penetrating picture book about a young girl who learns to accept her adopted family. The cover image shows Allison wearing a kimono--a gift from Grandmother--just like that worn by her doll Mei Mei; when the child stares into the mirror, she smiles to see that she and Mei Mei look very much alike, but when she sees her American mother and father, ""her smile disappeared."" Caldecott Medalist Say's (Grandfather's Journey) watercolors externalize Allison's inner landscape, a beige and neutral world in which she provides the only relief. The photographic quality of the art underscores Say's realistic treatment of his delicate subject (e.g., Allison's angry face after she shears the dolls whose ""hair wasn't like Mei Mei's,"" an empty picture hook on the wall behind her). Cleverly, Say uses a stray cat that Allison wants to adopt to help her come to terms with her anger as she realizes everyone needs a family. A subtle, sensitive probing of interracial adoption, this exquisitely illustrated story will encourage thoughtful adult-child dialogue on a potentially difficult issue. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/27/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Prebound-Other - 32 pages - 978-0-606-32838-8
Ebook - 32 pages - 978-0-547-76702-4
Open Ebook - 32 pages - 978-0-547-34759-2
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-1782-8
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-618-49537-5
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