The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

It’s the Chinese Year of the Dog, and as Pacy celebrates with her family, she finds out that this is the year she is supposed to “find herself.” Universal themes of friendship, family, and finding one’s passion in life make this novel appealing to readers of all backgrounds. This funny and profound book is a wonderful debut novel by a prolific picture book author and illustrator and has all the makings of a classic.

Grace Lin won me over when she wrote WHERE THE MOUNTAIN MEETS THE MOON. I was interested to see what else she had written so I picked this book up on my weekly trip the library.

One thing that struck me about this book is exactly how….. Not sure how to say this…. maybe… reader-friendly. Especially for younger kids, this book–I think–would be easy to understand not because it’s simply written, but rather because of how it’s formatted. This book is actually pretty cleverly written. I was expecting something completely different when I cracked this book open, but it turned out that I very pleasantly surprised. There’s lots of illustrations so that the food and culture is all right there in front of you on the page, but is not so huge that it distracts from the reading part of the story. I thought it was a very nice element.

Just reading about Pacy and the challenges she goes through on her journey in this book was a lot of fun, and I really enjoyed reading about her. I liked her growth and, more importantly, how she got to grow that much through her family, friends, school and culture. I loved the way that Grace Lin perfectly captured certain moments of the story that I thought were relatable, funny and sad all at the same time.

Personally, I thought this book was a fun, quick, light read. 4 stars. I’m looking forward to reading YEAR OF THE RAT.

pg count for the paperback: 160

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