Friday, February 18, 2011

Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin

Grace Lin follows up her 2010 Newbery Honor for Where the Mountains Meet the Moon with a 2011 Geisel Honor for Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same, showing she can write excellent books for beginning readers as well as novels for the older ones.

Ling and Ting face the same problem as many identical twins. Everyone thinks they are exactly the same, but they always insist, “We are not exactly the same.” Even the barber says so when they go for their haircuts. But Ling sits still for her haircut while Ting fidgets. When hair falls on her nose …

“AHH-CHOOO!” goes Ting. SNIP go the scissors.

If people thought they looked the same before their haircuts, they’ll make no mistake now that Ting has a chunk missing. Right in the front.

The book is divided into six short stories about Ling and Ting, and after the first one, Ting is always missing that chunk of hair. Next, Ling attempts a card trick. Then the sisters make their own dumplings, proving again that they are not exactly the same when one sister makes dump-Lings, while the other makes dump-Tings. Not even their chopstick ability is the same.

It’s when Ting goes to the library that the fun really starts. Ting’s fairy tale book reminds her of something important: her card from Ling’s card trick back in the second story. The final story, entitled “Mixed Up,” then brings in parts of all the previous stories, as Ting makes up a story about two twin girls. Ling is sure she knows this story, and readers will be too, but Ting’s version will have readers laughing right up to the end.

Beginning readers - and the grown-ups who read with them - will love Ling and Ting. Fans of Bink and Gollie, Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa, and Fly Guy will add Ling and Ting to their pile of favorites, and they’ll be watching for more Ling and Ting books in the future. (And so will I.)

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