Angel in Beijing

Belle Yang. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9270-4
Yang (Forget Sorrow) follows her young narrator as she cycles through Beijing looking for her cat, Kitty, who has been carried aloft on the tail of a Dragon Kite. At last, the girl hears a familiar “niaow-niaow” on the other side of a gate. When she’s reunited with Kitty, she extends a lovely gesture to the elderly woman who’s been taking care of her. The device of the cycling search allows Yang to examine Beijing’s traditional urban spaces: “I take a shortcut through a hutong [narrow alley] that smells of yummy steamed baozi [steamed buns].” With expressive ink lines and pleasing color combinations, Yang’s gouache paintings linger on the one-story buildings, tiled roofs, and intimate courtyards that characterize Beijing’s older neighborhoods. The details of the journey refer to the sounds, smells, and sights of the city, though the list of famous tourist spots (“I climb Jingshan,” “I ride along the west side of Beihai Park”) may make younger listeners wiggly as they wait to find out what’s happened to Kitty. Curiously, there’s no glossary for the Chinese terms. Ages 4–8. Agent: Al Zuckerman, Writers House. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2018
Release date: 07/10/2018
Genre: Children's
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