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Henry's First-Moon Birthday Hardcover – April 1, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Look's (Love as Strong as Ginger) buoyant picture book invites readers to peek at a Chinese-American family's preparations for a very special party. Older Sister (aka "Jen, Jenny, but never Jennifer"), who professes to be the lady of the house, rises early with GninGnin ("never Grandmother or Granny or Grandma") to get ready for brother Henry's first-moon, or one-month birthday. While the rest of the family sleeps, GninGnin and Jen bustle about cooking traditional Chinese dishes (pigs' feet and ginger soup, eggs dyed a lucky red) and writing good-luck messages in "ink, the real stuff, which GninGnin makes by rubbing an ink pebble with a little water." Soon, Mother joins the team and "cleans like a tornado going through every room." At last, GninGnin and Jen put on their favorite dresses and celebrate with visiting relatives. Jen is an entertaining narrator, a plucky helper filled with a refreshing confidence in her important role in the family. Through her eyes and her childlike, evocative descriptions readers learn more about Chinese culture as well as enjoy a warm, gently humorous story with universal themes. Heo (Yoshi's Feast) matches Jen's perky wit with her whimsical perspectives and energetic pencil-oil-collage compositions. Characters with smiling faces and happy eyes that "look like commas" and tender scenes between family members convey joy on every page. Ages 4-8.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2-In this cheerful, intergenerational story about a Chinese-American family, Jenny's baby brother is having his first-moon (one month) birthday party. Even though she doesn't believe that he deserves the fuss (all he does is sleep, eat, and cry), Jenny and her GninGnin prepare delicacies like pigs' feet and ginger soup and dyed red eggs for good luck. With pen and ink, they write Henry's Chinese name and good-luck words on red cloth in calligraphy for everyone to read. While her grandmother is cooking, the girl gets into mischief, drawing a spaceship and dinosaur on the floor in ink. Mother cleans like a tornado; Baba fixes the car and picks up her grandfather and the favorite Grandaunties for the party. Jenny and her cousins eat, jump on the beds, and peek into Henry's red gift envelope. When all is done, GninGnin praises her granddaughter, who reflects on the day, deciding that baby Henry is not so bad after all and that one day, he will be glad that she was in charge of his party. Lively, childlike illustrations are rendered in pencil, oil, and collage and emphasize the frantic pace of party preparations. The Matisselike art comes to life through the use of patterns and interestingly shaped objects. Figures are drawn as if by Jenny herself. All in all, the busy pages capture perfectly the happy mood and bustle of Henry's first-moon birthday.

Alice Casey Smith, Sayreville Public Schools, Parlin, NJ

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 520L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (April 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689822944
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689822940
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a book about a first moon birthday, which is a chinese/ korean celebration of a one month birthday. I am interested in seeing stories about cultures other than my own. However, I found that this book was all over the place. In one sentence they would be talking about a tradition or meal, next sentence a complete 180, talking about a completely different topic. There are a lot of analogies in this book, and unusual sentences. This is probably a really sweet book for those you can relate to it, first hand. I do not know much about Chinese/Korean traditions. Sentence Example from book, about grandma making dinner,"Her fingernails scrape off the warts on the wood fungus." I needed a little more explanation of what that means, and so did my 6 year old. She wondered why they were cooking warts, wood, and fungus for a special occasion dinner. I liked the book's theme. I love to see books that bridge the gap and help understand other cultures and traditions.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like reading this story as it is fun and it teaches my child about his culture. I like the simple illustrations as well.
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Format: Hardcover
"Henry's First-Moon Birthday" truly captures a an older sister's enthusiasm in helping her family prepare for her brother's 1-month birthday. Though the customs and the family are very Chinese, the emotions in this book are universal.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Given to Chinese family for their son's half moon birthday. Nice memento, plus helped me to understand what was occurring at the party!
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