cover image My Mei Mei

My Mei Mei

Ed Young, . . Philomel, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-399-24339-4

Young (Beyond the Great Mountains ) immortalizes the adoption of his and his wife's younger daughter in the pages of this touching tale. Narrated by Tonia, his elder daughter, the story initially unspools in somewhat of a disjointed verse with a childlike perspective ("In the dorm of a medical college, it was hot and wet. I was really excited; I drew pictures of our Mei Mei while we waited," says Tonia while they wait to meet the baby). As the story develops, so does Tonia, who comes to appreciate the love of her admiring little sister over time ("She made me feel big, as in my class I was small"). While the older sister's personal account is heartwarming, it is Young's illustrations that allow readers to better understand the growing bond between Tonia and Mei Mei. Soft, detailed watercolors depict Tonia's look of frustration when her new sister "took all the attention away from me" and Mei Mei's wind-blown pigtails as the toddler plays in the sandbox. These snapshots represent a united family and amount to a treasure trove of memories. Ages 4-up. (Feb.)