Amy Wu flexes her problem-solving skills again in this sequel to Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao (2019).
After reading them a story about dragons, Ms. Mary has Amy and her classmates design their own dragons. While her classmates quickly fill the show-and-tell table with winged, pot-bellied dragons fashioned with modeling clay and stamps, Amy struggles. At first she paints a thin, long-bodied dragon inspired by Eastern cultures, but her classmates are confused and challenge the authenticity of her creation since it is a departure from the Western dragons showcased during storytime. The straightforward text narrates as Amy doubts her design, eventually drawing Western dragons yet still feeling dissatisfied. Accompanied by her classmates Willa and Sam, Amy returns home to Grandma, who tells the trio tales about Asian dragons, which causes Amy to remember the dragon costume used during Chinese New Year that’s stored in the attic. Inspired, Amy is finally able to showcase a dragon at school that takes a bit from both cultures and is a design she can call entirely her own. Chua again brings plenty of colorful spirit with her cartoons, perfectly capturing Amy’s fun, creative energy and surrounding her Chinese protagonist with a diverse school community. (Sam has brown skin and straight, black hair, and Willa presents White.) What is even more appealing is the courage Amy models to readers to stay true to oneself, especially when faced with a lack of role models. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 78.8% of actual size.)
Cheerful and bright, this heroine calls for authenticity and representation.
(Picture book. 5-8)
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 40
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020