Playing with Lanterns

Wang Yage, trans. from the simplified Chinese by Helen Wang, illus. by Zhu Chengliang. Amazon Crossing Kids, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5420-2984-1

Originally published in China, this leisurely narrative by Wang follows Zhao Di, a Chinese child, through the 15 days of the Lunar New Year celebration in the Shaanxi province as she participates in a range of activities, from receiving to smashing lanterns. Quiet, elegant passages stud the text (“Lanterns near and far bobbed like lamps on fishing boats”) as Zhao Di experiences the joy of the holiday alongside sadness around the event’s ephemerality. Tenderly detailed gouache paintings by Zhu render the children as small, patterned bundles frolicking against expanses of snow; brightly colored lanterns provide focal points throughout. A quiet celebration of a Northwestern Chinese tradition. An author’s note concludes. Ages 3–7. (Dec.)
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