Dumpling Days continues the story of Pacy and her family, whom we met in the books The Year of the Dog and The Year of the Rat. In this book, Pacy and her Taiwanese-American family go visit their relatives in Taiwan for an extended summer trip. At first, Pacy feels out of place because she can’t speak Chinese and everything about Taiwan is so different from what she is used to. But we see that as Pacy spends time with her loving relatives, eats many dumplings, and has many small adventures (like having her fortune told, taking Chinese painting classes, riding to the top of the world’s second tallest building, and getting lost at the night market), she realizes that she belongs to both Taiwan and America. And that’s the way she likes it.
Dumpling Days stands on its own, but I recommend all three of the Lin family books. I love Grace Lin’s gentle storytelling – insightful, sweet and humorous. I love getting to know all the members of the family, and how family stories and histories are woven into the text. I love how the stories are complemented by our narrator Pacy’s simple line drawings, and the way Grace Lin so deftly and gently handles Pacy’s exploration of her own complicated ethnic and personal identity. While the first two books take place in Connecticut, Dumpling Days takes place entirely in Taiwan (the opening and closing scenes are on the airplane). I enjoyed learning about customs and life in the different places Pacy and her family visited, and I very much enjoyed reading about the food that they ate! I will warn you, however: this book will make you hungry. Hungry for food, adventure, travel, and the love of good friends and family.
This highly recommended book is released January 2, 2012.
Posted by: Parry