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The Asian Reporter's
BOOK REVIEWS


STORY + CRAFTS. Rubyís Chinese New Year is a picture book written by Vickie Lee and illustrator Joey Chou. After reading the delightful story with colorful drawings, readers will find directions on how to make a paper fan, paper lantern, and good luck banner.

From The Asian Reporter, V33, #1 (January 2, 2023), page 11 & 12.

Ruby and the zodiac animals go on an adventure

Rubyís Chinese New Year

By Vickie Lee

Illustrations by Joey Chou

Henry Holt and Co., 2017

Hardcover, 40 pages, $17.99

By Jody Lim

The Asian Reporter

Rubyís Chinese New Year is a picture book aimed at children between four and eight years old, but both young and seasoned readers will enjoy this book. I read it to my five-year-old nephew and he thoroughly enjoyed the delightful story and colorful drawings.

On the first page, we meet Ruby, a bubbly child who finds out that her grandmother is unable to travel to visit her. For as long as she could remember, Ruby and her grandmother would celebrate the Lunar New Year together, "eating special foods and making drawings for good luck."

Soon after hearing the news, Ruby makes a decision: "If grandmother could not come to Ruby, Ruby would to go grandmother!"

"Sheís going to see her," my nephew chimes in enthusiastically.

On a red piece of paper, Ruby draws a picture of her family sitting at a table full of "noodles, dumplings, fish, vegetables, and holiday sweets," then folds the creation, places the gift in a red envelope, and heads out on an adventure.

Along her journey, Ruby meets a Cat and a Rat and asks them to join her in delivering the gift for her grandmother. Ruby and the two animals discuss how to travel across the meadow and pond. Ratís solution: "Letís ask Ox. Sheís so strong and dependable."

Soon they meet Tiger and Rabbit who are flying colorful streamers, and discover Dragon and Snake making red paper lanterns. "Ribbons," says my nephew, "and homemade decorations for the party!"

Next the group discovers Horse and Goat grazing in the meadow and Monkey and Rooster catching fish for the holiday feast. From the pond, they can see grandmotherís house.

The next task? Crossing the pond. "With a leap and a bound, Ruby dove into the pond. She would swim to grandmotherís! She was so close!"

But the red envelope falls into the pond, and the animals help retrieve Rubyís gift from the water.

"Oh no," cried Ruby. "Itís ruined. Everything is ruined."

"Sheís sad because her card is broken," says my nephew.

"Itís not ruined!" Rooster crows in the book.

The animals and Ruby continue on their way with the wet gift. Dog and Pig greet them upon arriving at their destination.

"Ruby! What a wonderful surprise," grandmother says.

"Everything is okay; they have each other," my nephew proclaims. (Such wise words from a preschooler.)

Of course, we all know how the tale ends for Ruby, her grandmother, and the animals ó a lovely Lunar New Year gathering. But there is a small, sleepy twist; youíll have to read it to find out.

Rubyís Chinese New Year is filled with vibrant and lively images of Ruby and the animals of the zodiac. At the end of book, readers are also treated to the legend of the lunar zodiac, the traits of each animal, and directions on how to make a paper lantern, paper fan, and good luck banner.

Thank you, author Vickie Lee and illustrator Joey Chou, for an entertaining Lunar New Year book we can all enjoy.

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