Friday, December 16, 2016

Ling & Ting: Not exactly the same! by Grace Lin

[Digging through the archives...]

Ling and Ting look the same. They have the same smiles. They have the same hair. But they are not exactly the same and after a trip to the barber everyone can tell! Happily, they move on to other adventures, including trying magic trips, making dumplings, checking out library books, and telling stories.

This is a gorgeous easy reader! At first, it seems to follow the typical episodic chapters of a classic friendship easy reader. But it's not quite the same...first, can you think of any easy readers about twins? I can't. Definitely a new topic, not to mention that I've never seen an easy reader about Asian kids either, at least not with them as the main character; Rosemary Well's stories don't really count, since Yoko is a cat. I can think of several little adopted Chinese girls in our community who will be thrilled to find a story that features girls who look like them - especially one that deals with the "you all look the same" thing in such a funny but firm manner.

Moving on...Grace Lin adapts the episodic chapter format to her writing style by creating a lovely and subtle story arc. Starting with Ting's accidental haircut, which distinguishes the girls, moving on through stories that show how they are different and how they are alike, and finishing with a storytelling plot that revisits each of the previous stories, Lin gently teaches narrative structure and reinforces comprehension while writing a funny and sweet story kids will enjoy reading and parents will want to listen to. Her illustrations are both classic and contemporary - the girls' clothing won't get outdated in future years, but there's a definite of the moment feel to the pictured events.

Verdict: Buy it! Give it to kids with siblings, twins, and kids who like funny stories!

[Revisited: This series is still in print and Lin has written several sequels. While I have more of an audience for lower level easy readers, this is still a good choice and one that more intermediate readers enjoy. I still recommend it frequently.]

ISBN: 978-0316024525; Published July 2010 by Little, Brown; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

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