Monday, September 12, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

These reviews appeared in the Stratford Gazette on September 8th. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

My Friend Mei Jing, by Anna McQuinn, 32 pages.

On the first day of grade two, the teacher asked Monifa and Mei Jung to sit next to each other… and the two girls have been best friends since then.
Monifa and Mei Jung do just about everything together, and they share many interests. They love doing arts, crafts and dance; they like the same colours; they enjoy camping together in Monifa’s backyard, and they enjoy dressing up (especially as princesses). Both of them adore Mei Jung’s new puppy, and each wants to be a veterinarian someday. (In fact, they plan to open an animal clinic and work together. Monifa will be in charge of setting broken bones and Mei Jung will groom the animals.) 
Something else that the girls share is an appreciation of the other’s cultural heritage. Mei Jung likes to learn the meanings of the Yoruba names and words that Monifa’s family has brought from Nigeria. And Monifa loves tasting Chinese foods, learning to use chopsticks, and participating in the Chinese New Year customs that Mei Jung’s family enjoys.  
The ethnic differences found in a diverse community are celebrated in this book, but it’s the interests that both girls share which make them such good friends. And both girls would agree: there are few things in life better than a best friend!
 Irvin Cheung and Ben Frey’s art work is a colourful blend of photography and comic drawings – a perfect match for this appealing story.
** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.

One of Us, by Peggy Moss, 32 pages.

It was Roberta’s first day at Baker School.
When she walked into her new classroom, she noticed a group of girls wearing their hair in a ponytail, like Roberta. “Sit here” said one of them. “You are one of us.” However, when Roberta went to climb on the monkey bars at recess, the group told her, “We don’t play on the playground. We sit here and talk.”
So Roberta joined the Monkey Bar Group on the playground.
But when the Monkey Bar Group went to the cafeteria to eat lunch and discovered that Roberta had a flowered lunchbox instead of a monkey lunchbox, she was directed to the group of kids with flowered lunchboxes. She joined them, feeling a little confused. Taking out her pita roll-up, she was then directed to the pita-roll-up-lunch-group… so Roberta moved again.
But Roberta wasn’t wearing cowboy boots, and all of the kids in the pita-roll-up group were wearing cowboy boots….
Finally, Roberta decided to sit by herself.
Then she was approached by a girl – a girl who belonged to a group in which no two students were the same. Each student had different interests, lunches, clothing and hair styles.
At the end of this wise children’s fable–like story which celebrates people’s differences and likenesses, all the students at Baker School begin to play together, realizing that they do not have to be alike in every way.
** Recommended for ages 4 to 8 years.

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