Only One Year

By Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

The notion of sending a youngster abroad for a year will be novel to many young readers, and the book does a solid job of matter-of-factly explaining the custom in an appended note and in the text (Mama poignantly says, “For a babysitter, Di Di is a job. But for Nai Nai, he is a grandson”), even as it allows for classmate reaction that confirm it’s a concept alien to many. Sharon’s narration believably focuses on the concrete and the specific, its style understated but still reflective of her often conflicting emotions. Wong’s monochromatic illustrations have a homey informality, and the sibs are caught in believable and telling poses as they cuddle, bicker, and play. Respectful yet accessible, this is a quietly solid family drama in early chapter-book form.