The Year Of The Dog :: Book Review

Our summer reading recommendations continue with this book review of The Year Of The Dog by author and illustrator Grace Lin. This book is the first in a series of (so far) two. The sequel to The Year Of The Dog is called The Year Of The Rat, which Kidzworld plans to review for you soon.

The Story
This book stars a girl named Grace (yup, just like the author!), whose parents came from Taiwan, making Grace Taiwanese-American. She even has two names; people at school call her Grace while her family calls her Pacy. Taiwan's traditions are important to Grace's family, and one favorite holiday to celebrate is the Chinese New Year. This year they celebrate the Year of the Dog, which symbolizes friends, family and finding out about oneself. Grace vows that this year she will discover new talents and decide what she wants to be when she grows up.

The first surprise of the New Year is that another Taiwanese-American girl has joined Grace's class. Grace and Melody quickly become best friends; they have a lot in common with their cultures, but they find a number of differences as well. While Melody can speak Taiwanese, Grace can’t. Though they both eat Taiwanese foods, Melody's family indulges in healthier meals while Grace's family has more junk food.

Grace and Melody participate in lots of activities during the school year, including the science fair and school play. Grace hopes to find new talents to guide her in life, but so far it doesn't look promising. She does discover things that she doesn't want to do when she grows up, like being a chef or a doctor. But the Year of the Dog is quickly coming to an end. Will she find some answers before it's too late?

Sorry! You’ll have to read the book to find out!

The Author/Illustrator
As we said, the author and illustrator of this book is Grace Lin, who does an amazing job with The Year Of The Dog. She brings to life a different part of America that some kids may not be familiar with: the Taiwanese-American culture.

Lin's descriptions in the book really bring her characters' feelings of excitement, fear, disappointment and hope from the page straight into the heart. It’s a funny and touching story, that comes complete with cute cartoon-like illustrations. We’re sure you’ll be entertained by it – and you’ll probably learn a couple things along the way, too.

More Great Summer Reads:

  • Faces Of Nature
  • The Beef Princess Of Practical County
  • The Smithsonian: Wolves
  • Zooman Sam


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    What Is the Chinese Year Based On?

    • The sun.
    • The cycles of the moon.
    • The seasons.
    • The weather.

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