cover image Ginger and Chrysanthemum

Ginger and Chrysanthemum

Kristen Mai Giang, illus. by Shirley Chan. Levine Querido, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-64614-001-5

A traditional Chinese belief categorizes food as either warming or cooling, explains an author’s note; this inspires Giang’s debut, which follows the eponymous two cousins, “as close as two beans in a pod” despite their contrasting personalities, as they prepare for their grandmother’s birthday. Hot-tempered, impulsive Ginger and cool, organized Chrysanthemum have individual yet complementary ideas about how to best dress and decorate for Grandma’s special day, but when they are asked to make a green tea birthday cake together, their dissimilar methods lead to disastrous results. Thin-lined digital illustrations have a sketchlike look that evoke Ginger’s approach, but Chan succeeds in drawing the girls’ distinctive personalities, and the pages are enlivened by the addition of trompe-l’œil stickers, Chrysanthemum’s lists, and Polaroidesque framing en route to delivering a perennial message. Ages 4–7. [em](Oct.) [/em]