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I See the Sun in China Paperback – October 1, 2010
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From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Early one morning, a woman and her daughter catch a ferry from their small town on the island of Putuo Shan to Shanghai where the unnamed child will spend the weekend with her aunt. After eating lunch at Auntie's apartment, the two visit a mall and a park. In the evening they have dinner with Auntie's friends at a restaurant, walk along the Bund, and enjoy a foot massage. Back at the apartment, the youngster does her schoolwork while Auntie talks on the phone with her business partner in the U.S. At the end of the day, the child reflects on the choices she will have as she grows up. This bilingual book is one of a series of titles that looks at the cultures of various countries around the world. The glossary and notes give a bit more information about China and define specific items mentioned in the story. The Mandarin is an accurate translation of the English, which is awkward toward the end of the story in part because the use of commas is erratic. The illustrations are done in collage, a combination of cut paper, photographs, and line drawings. The quality of the photographs is uneven, and the overall design of the artwork lacks vigor. While the simple story is pleasing, the book has limited appeal.-Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
A young narrator describes an outing to Shanghai spent with her aunt. Together they explore the city, shop at the mall, have tea at a park, eat in a restaurant with her aunt’s friends, walk the Bund, and enjoy a foot massage. At the end of the day, the girl wonders whether her future lies in her village or in a city. The collage art gives a better sense of the city than it does the village. The one illustration of village housing looks oddly suburban. The images of traditional fishing boats and Kwan Yin’s statue provide the only other views of the older way of life. The focus is on urban life in contemporary China, and the pictures portray the city’s energy and modern style. Written in Mandarin Chinese, the English translation is sometimes clunky, for example, describing Grandfather’s tai chi as “energy practice.” American children will need the appended notes to understand this book, which sometimes misses the mark but is a well-intentioned attempt to introduce modern China. Grades K-2. --Linda Perkins
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As a Chinese, I can tell the little girl's story in the book is absolutely not realistic. It was the author's imagination. For example, the little girl's aunt brought her to a foot massage store. No way. Adults never bring kids to that places. I'm curious did the author really went to China and the other countries mentioned in her series? I doubt for the credibility of the story. It's not the real culture. It helps to strengthen the cultural stereotypes rather than improve cross-cultural communication.
By Dedie King, Illustrations by Judith Inglese
2010, Satya House Publications
Review by Debra L Scott, 12/14/2011
A young girl from a rural farming village in China takes a trip to the modern bustling city of Shanghai to visit her aunt. City life is very different from her quiet country life. The sun is obscured by the dense fog, the buildings are so tall they hurt her neck trying to look at them, and compares the jobs and life in her village with city life and the sharp business atmosphere. The first person narrative writing has some very lovely moments like the passage below.
"At dawn, sunshine fingers slip through my window and tickle my face. " (waking up in the village)
"In the twilight the lights inside the buildings shine like hundreds of tiny suns." (watching the sunset in Shanghai)
"Each book in the I See the Sun series tries to portray a feeling of the essential cultural elements of a country in a clear and simple way." (Publisher's note) The book is written bilingually, in English and Mandarin Chinese, so could be read by speakers of either language. Even for English only speakers, the mysterious Chinese characters are interesting to look at. Children who love hearing about other cultures will find the book delightful, and perhaps those of Chinese descent will enjoy a book that shows their children what life is like now in the People's Republic of China. At the end of the book is a glossary of terms that would be unfamiliar to most American children. There is also a very interesting section that tells about Chinese culture, and how they live in the midst of constant change and enterprise while holding on to very traditional values.