“Your respect for others will be your ticket to success.”
- Taiwan setting
- Chinese words
- Some flat characters
- Modern family dynamics* (see note below)
I was super excited to get ahold of this. Because of its vibrant cover, I actually thought this would be a picture book. (Warning: If your kids don’t like bugs, the cover might put them off.) However, it’s actually a lovely chapter book with images scattered throughout the pages.
I liked how the setting is in Taiwan, and it was great having an honest portrayal of a child who needs to go see extended relatives in a different country but feels awkward doing so. The fantastical aspect of Superbeetle and his amazing writing ability also drew me in. I would have liked some of the side characters in the story (like the grandmother) to be more developed, but this book is geared towards kids so it’s not really a problem for younger readers.
I admired how Chen defined Chinese words throughout the book. However, I did find some a little simplistic (e.g. potstickers) and thought the audience might already be familiar with them. Also, some of the pronunciation is a bit off from what it actually sounds like in Mandarin.
One warning note*: There is mention of divorce in the beginning of the book. So I had to explain that concept (on the fly) in further detail when reading this story out loud.
An important and fun-paced chapter book about culture, Taiwan, and bugs.
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