Elaine Mary Lewis & the Frog

Heidi Chang, Author Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers $9.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-517-56752-4
When Elaine Chow's family moves from San Francisco to Iowa, she not only misses her friends but, because of her Chinese-American heritage, feels herself to be an outsider for the first time. She quickly forms a friendship with spunky classmate Mary Lewis, however, and just as quickly finds herself sharing her new friend's passion for frogs. When the class is told their science project can involve anything that flies, the girls wonder if they can stretch the concept to include frogs. Mr. Chow provides a solution: he helps them build a rice-paper frog kite. The kite is a hit, and Elaine now feels fully accepted. In this first work, Chang admirably captures the simple style of a beginning novel, with a nice froggy focus that is sure to engage young readers in its enthusiastic execution. But the dialoguelaced with Gosh's, Gee's and Wow'soccasionally falls flat, and the themes of cultural differences and winning acceptance never seem deeply felt. The black-and-white illustrations add some spirited moments. Ages 7-10. (February)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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