New Year Surprise! Reviews

A little of what folks have said about New Year Surprise! ….

(Click on links for complete reviews)

Chris Cheng is the master of faction – the art of blending fact and fiction into a seamless story that both entertains and educates.  In New Year Surprise he draws on his own heritage to tell a tale that keeps the reader engaged while introducing many of the traditions that the Western world is now becoming familiar with while Di Wu’s amazing artwork reflecting the traditional Chinese techniques of brushes, watercolours and rice paper is the perfect accompaniment.
… With so few books for young readers on this subject available, Chris Cheng and Di Wu have created a must-have for both teachers and students and it’s a cracker!
– Barbara Braxton (the Bottom Shelf blog)

Cheng’s first person narrative places readers firmly within the snug folds of Little Brother’s padded jacket so that rather than feel the chill of his snow-covered home, we sympathise with his frustrated longing to contribute. Cheng infuses just the right amount of Chinese heritage and terminology to establish authenticity without swamping little minds with too much unfamiliar culture,
— Dimity Powell (in BoomerangBlog)

… Highly recommended. Chinese New Year, Responsibility, Family, Celebrations, Festivals, China, Inclusivity.
This beautiful book shows the reader many customs and traditions surrounding the celebration of New Year in Northern China. … (It) not only tells the story of how New Year is celebrated within a tale of inclusivity, but the illustrations will astound and astonish as well. A wonderful addition to any school or home library, the book has explanations at the back which are most informative as well.
— Fran Knight (ReadPlus)

Beautifully illustrated with traditional Chinese paints and brushes on rice paper by Di Wu, New Year Surprise! captures the excitement of Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) celebrations in a snowy rural northern Chinese village. The text by Christopher Cheng follows Little Brother as his family prepares for Spring Festival and as they celebrate this special event with their extended family and friends. … New Year Surprise! is a lovely story to read with young children to introduce them to some of the traditions of Chinese New Year.
— Susan Whelan (in Kids Books Review)

… ‘New Year Surprise!’ is an authoritative picture book on the subject of Chinese New Year. Author Christopher Cheng has seamlessly woven facts about Chinese culture throughout a narrative which has major child appeal, while illustrator Di Wu has used a palette of colours traditionally used in Chinese painting along with Chinese brushes on rice paper to create sumptuous illustrations which deserve a wide audience and gallery space – definitely like to see a travelling exhibition of this artwork.
— Megan Daley (in Children’s Books Daily)

… New Year Surprise! is a delightful read-out-loud picture book for 3 to 6 year olds as well as a cuddle-up-in-the-armchair book for mid-range independent readers. The combination of award winning Christopher Chen’s text and the beautiful illustrations of Di Wu has created a colourful and enjoyable insight into an important Chinese tradition.
— Jennifer Mors (in Reading Time – the Children’s book Council of Australia)

… What is special about this story is that it is set in a rural Chinese village. It depicts simple but rich village life, the family’s complicated preparations for the upcoming festivities and their respect for longstanding traditions. Following this satisfying and entertaining story are several pages of fascinating information about numerous customs and festivals in China, plus background notes from the author and illustrator. The impressive traditional Chinese-style paintings—Di Wu used rice paper, Chinese brushes and traditional methods to create the illustrations—capture the characters in the family and the festival atmosphere perfectly. …This is recommended for children aged six and up.
— Margaret Hamilton (in Books and Publishing)

… Redolent of folk tales, with its mellifluous language and stirring refrain, Cheng’s text invites children to identify with Little Brother, his hopes and fears, and his ultimate delight when he finally has an important job to do. Wu’s accompanying illustrations expertly bring to life the Chinese village. There is an understated melding of the old and the new, as children in jeans and baseball caps play amongst old-fashioned houses. Painted in vibrant colours on textured rice paper, Wu’s images exude the warmth of family life, while also celebrating Chinese traditions, including the magnificent dragon that prances exuberantly across a number of double-page spreads.
— Stephanie Owen Reader (in Sydney Morning Herald)