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The Key Collection Hardcover – May 1, 2003


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-4-In Cincinnati, Xiao ("Little") Jimmy is lucky to have his father's mother living next door. However, his aunt Helen lives in San Francisco and wants her mother to come live with her. Helen is a doctor, and as Ni Ni's health deteriorates, this begins to seem like a good idea to the adults. As she is about to leave, Jimmy realizes how much he is losing. As he plays with her key collection, he gradually sorts through his unhappiness. Dividing the keys into families, he begins to see how he and Ni Ni are connected to others. As she recounts familiar family stories, the connections deepen. Eventually Jimmy is able to accept his grandmother's departure, and as new people move into the house and new keys are found, he finds his way forward. This is a quiet story with a strong heart and a clear picture of the way kids cope. The essential references to Chinese culture are conveyed with skill and clarity. A recipe for jiao zi, the dumplings the pair makes on occasion, is included along with a pronunciation guide for other Chinese words. The black-and-white illustrations help make this an inviting first chapter book that shines with a subtle, steady glow.
Carol A. Edwards, Sonoma County Library, Santa Rosa, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-5. Ten-year-old Jimmy has a close relationship with his grandmother, Ni Ni, whom he visits nearly every day. She cooks delicious treats for him, teaches him Chinese characters, tells wonderful stories about growing up in Shanghai, and shows him such things as a fascinating collection of keys. Jimmy is heartbroken when he learns Ni Ni is moving to San Francisco to live with his aunt, but the blow of losing Ni Ni is softened somewhat by a friendship that develops between Jimmy and a boy named Jason. Jimmy is reunited with Ni Ni after his aunt sends a ticket for him to fly out to San Francisco for his grandmother's eightieth birthday. During the visit, Jimmy comes to realize that there are ways for him and his grandmother to bridge the distance between them. This warm, reassuring story of intergenerational friendship is decorated with black-and-white illustrations of key scenes that add further emotional content. Ed Sullivan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 590L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1st edition (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805071539
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805071535
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,705 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lady on July 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is really well-written - but as a parent I want to add that it might bother some sensitive souls, especially if they are going through something similar. I just saw it at the library and could really feel the pain of having his grandmother move away - although in some ways it deepened his relationship with her -and with others.

One tiny nit-pick: I wish his grandmother had been called "Nai Nai" (paternal grandmother, following official pinyin transliteration rules) instead of Ni Ni, but I was able to move past that. It could be a pet name that I had not heard of.
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The Key Collection + Only One Year + The Year of the Baby (An Anna Wang novel)
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