review: Happy Birthday, Mr. Kang

First of all, this books just leaps off the shelf and demands to be read. Anybody can make a photocollage, but this book shows how a master does it. Everything is positively popping!

The story is wonderful. I often turn up my nose at picture books with lots of text, but this text was worth reading.

It’s a story about a restaurant cook who finally retires at age 70 and gets himself a pet Chinese bird. But his Americanized grandson tries to talk him into letting it go.

In one collage, you can look closely and find the newspaper article that inspired the author to write the story (I presume this is THE story) and read and learn more about the culture surrounding this particular type of pet bird.

I felt like Roth and I had something in common. She wanted to use photos to PROVE her story to readers. The same way I have a 50-gallon drum of Banana Puree in Qwikpick, she has photos of bird cages shrouded with cloth.

Roth writes confidently about the immigrant experience. I just wonder if actual immigrants would say she was right on. I hope they would, because it’s a nice story and runs a LOT deeper than most books. (picture or otherwise.)

by the way, this is ANOTHER awesome book from National Geographic.

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