An Mei's Strange and Wondrous Journey
Stephan Molnar-Fenton. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-2477-8
Set against the backdrop of Flesher's (Lullaby Raft) dreamy pastels this touching picture book was inspired by Molnar-Fenton's own experience adopting a baby girl from China. An Mei, who was left by her mother ""on the stone steps of the Wuhan orphanage"" finds her way to a loving family in America. In prose filled with lovely images (""Ice drew pictures on the windowpanes, and snow wrapped a blanket around the branches of the bamboo tree""), Molnar-Fenton's inaugural children's book relates the story from the baby's point of view, thus tapping into readers' empathy and effectively communicating An Mei's fear and excitement. The story's delicate, tranquil mood is sustained by Flesher's graceful artwork, whose fluid lines and warm, feather-soft shadings plumb the story's emotional depths. Whether depicting An Mei cradled in her Chinese mother's arms, staying her first night in her new home or planting twin bamboo trees on her sixth birthday, the pastels--and the tale they reflect--clearly come from the heart. A strange and wondrous journey indeed. Ages 4-7. (Mar.) FYI: An afterword explains a bit about adoption in general and the process in China in particular.
Reviewed on: 03/02/1998