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Henry's First-Moon Birthday

by Lenore Look
Illustrated by Yumi Heo

Published by An Anne Schwartz Book / Atheneum, 2001
32 pages
ISBN: 0-689-82294-4

Ages 4 - 7

Jen, Jenny (but never Jennifer!), a.k.a Older Sister announces at the beginning of this engaging picture story that she's the one in charge of the household since her mother gave birth to her little brother Henry exactly one month ago. And certainly this assertive, rather bossy, little girl thinks she's in charge, but astute readers will notice that it's really her Chinese grandmother, GninGnin, who's running the show. In a droll conversational style, Jen gives us a step-by-step account of the preparations she and her grandmother make for a family celebration to mark her little brother's first month of life, his first-moon birthday party. Together they prepare special food, write good-luck words on red cloth with black ink ("the real stuff," Jen tells us), boil "a million eggs," clean the house, bathe ("GninGnin scrubs me clean as celery") and put on special dresses. When the guest arrive, Jen tells us she's in charge of making sure the cousins don't wake Henry. ("I do a good job until -- I can't resist I pinch him once when no one's looking.") Yumi Heo's humorous stylized pencil and oil paintings give a good sense of the bustling activity of a busy household from a young child's perspective. Jen is clearly a child who would try the patience of many adults. Lucky for her and for readers she has a grandmother who understands her completely and who is equal to the task of caring for her. As Jen tells us: "I look in the mirror and see that we are a pair, like favorite shoes, side by side." Highly Commended, 2002 Charlotte Zolotow Award CCBC categories: Picture Books for Older Children; Seasons and Celebrations.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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