Wong, Janet S. This Next New Year. Illustrated by Yansook Choi. Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2000. ISBN 0-374-35503-7. $16.00. 32 pp. B- Pre-1 PB Reviewed by Erminia Chao This next new year is about to begin, not the regular new year January 1, but the lunar new year, the day of the first new moon. Thus begins this story about a young boy who is getting ready to welcome the Chinese New Year. He hopes that helping his mother clean the house, sweeping away the dust, and throwing away the trash will bring him good luck next year. He also washes himself and puts on new clothes to get ready for a new start to make his dreams come true in the coming new year. Wong has successfully used sparse, lyrical verse to speak in the voice of a child determined to face the next lunar year with optimism and courage. The book itself does not talk much about the traditions of Chinese New Year, but at the end of the book, Wong mentions some of its traditions and myths. This is a good resource for parents and teachers wanting to go into more depth. The brightly colored illustrations capture the attention of the intended audience. One illustration at the beginning, however, is not very accurate. When Wong is discussing the Chinese New Year, the people in the picture are in Korean clothes and the writing on the wall is also in Korean. Overall, the book is well done if you do not care too much about the details.
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