It's the Chinese New Year, and the Chang Family has only enough rice flour to make one nián-gão, a special New Year's rice cake, for the entire family to eat. But this delicious little nián-gão has other ideas. "Ai yo! I don't think so!" it cries, coming to life and escaping.
Ming, Cong, little Da and their parents chase the nián-gão all over the village until it runs into a hungry, old woman and sends her tumbling to the ground. Though Da is a small boy, his heart is big enough to share the treat with her, even though that leaves Da's family with nothing to eat for their own celebration. But the Changs' generosity doesn't go unnoticed. When they return home, they find the Kitchen God has left a wonderful surprise for them.
Ying Chang Compestine's heartwarming story conveys an important and poignant message about sharing and compassion. Tungwai Chau's soft and evocative illustrations complete this tender holiday story.
Although they have rice flour enough for only one nián-gäo--the Chinese New Year's rice cake--the Chang family is determined to make the best of their holiday treat. But when Momma takes the cake out of the steamer, "something incredible happened--the rice cake came alive!" Stunned, the Changs watch as it pops out of the pan and rolls right out of their kitchen, crying, "Ai yo! I don't think so!" Much like the family in the traditional classic, The Gingerbread Boy, the Changs chase that pastry all through the village, but it eludes them every step--until it runs smack into an old woman. Generous Da, the youngest son, upon discovering that this woman is hungry, too, offers to share the nián-gäo. This leaves nothing for the Chang family's New Year's feast, but their kind-hearted deed reaps them benefits they never imagined from the approving Kitchen God.
Ying Chang Compestine's tale of compassion and generosity teaches a valuable, perennially fresh message. Tungwai Chau's acrylic paintings of the family celebrating their most important holiday are rich with details of traditional Chinese life. A note about the Chinese New Year includes recipes for nián-gäo, the good-luck cake that is said to bring safety and fortune to the entire family all year long. (Ages 5 to 8) --Emilie Coulter