Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Small Readers: Ling and Ting, Twice as Silly by Grace Lin

I enjoyed the previous Ling & Ting book, but then somehow forgot about the series. Cybils brought it back to my attention and I remembered how fun it was.

As the title says, this is all about being silly. Ling and Ting get up to all sorts of silly tricks and jokes from planting cupcakes to a silly plan to get an apple or even writing a silly story. Lin's art is simple but sweet. The slightly bumpy lines give it a homemade feeling that's very attractive.

These follow a classic easy reader format. Simple, short sentences with a surprise at the end of each brief story. The text is a level 2 or 3, depending on what system/publisher you're looking at and I'd say is just right for an intermediate easy reader.

What I really like about these books, besides the humor and general fun, is how the girls' culture is seamlessly part of the story. The clothing and backgrounds make me think the story is set in an older time period, maybe 1950s or 1960s, and it's like someone went back in history and wrote a book about the kids that were always there but nobody noticed. Their culture as Chinese-Americans is included in little things, like painting toys red for luck, but they don't celebrate specific holidays to show their ethnicity (a tired device as far as I'm concerned). The focus of the story is on the humor and how the girls are the same and different as twins.

Verdict: While I mostly focus on purchasing easy readers for younger readers at the very beginning of learning to read, I do have a smaller number of classic and carefully selected easy readers for those who are more at an intermediate stage. Ling & Ting is a series that fits in well and I definitely recommend them.

ISBN: 9780316184021; Published 2014 by Little Brown and Company; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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