Friday, September 6, 2013

Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding by Lenore Look, illustrated by Yumi Heo

Uncle Peter, "the coolest dude" and "a girl's best buddy," is getting married and everyone is happy about it except Jenny.  Why should she be happy?  After all, she was always Uncle Peter's special girl until Stella came along.  So instead of a Saturday movie like always, it is Uncle Peter's traditional Chinese wedding day.

As everyone looks at the traditional good luck presents from the bride's family, Jenny looks on with a sad face and as the children accompany Peter for good luck when he goes to pick up his bride, Jenny is squished in the car and unhappy.  After finally offering enough tokens to her family to show how much he loves their daughter, beautiful Stella comes down in her good luck red wedding dress with the good luck dragons and phoenixes on it.  

Everyone is smiling and laughing during family picture time, except you-know-who.

When it is time for the traditional tea ceremony, that little green monster Jealousy rears its head and Jenny decides to sabotage the tea.  Finally, it takes a wise mother to quell all the sadness in Jenny's heart over losing her best uncle.  Which is good since Uncle Peter and new Aunt Stella's wedding day is far from over and there is a lot more fun to be had.

I loved reading Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding.  First of all, it is a wonderful read aloud that will most likely generated lots of discussion.  Secondly, Look deals very nicely with the feelings of jealousy a child might easily have when a favorite relative, and that would include one parent or the other,  gets married.  At the same time, she cleverly uses Jenny's jealousy issues for introducing the reader to all the traditions surrounding  a Chinese wedding.   And it all works and the result is a really delightful story narrated by Jenny herself.

And you might think that Jenny did the charming oil, pencil and collage illustrations, which are really skillfully done by artist Yumi Heo to make them look like Jenny's perspective on things.

Wedding Envelope for Peter
and Stella
I loved the way each tradition was explained to make it easy for young (and older) readers, unfamiliar with Chinese wedding traditions, to understand and to appreciate their meanings.  I knew I had to read this book as soon as I saw it.  After all, my Kiddo just got engaged to her longtime boyfriend and will be having her own a traditional Chinese wedding in the near future and that is something new to us.

Both my Kiddo and her Peng Peng were born in the Year of the Dragon 1988 and that made his mother very excited - lots of luck there.  And I knew about Hungbau, lucky money put into a red envelope, because we had exchanged this year for Chinese New Year.

But there was much that was new to me here and much that I am looking forward to.  And that is the benefit of multicultural books - they teach you something new about different people and make you want to see, do and/or know more.

This book is recommended for readers age 4+
This book was borrowed from the NYPL

Be sure to visit my friend Mia over at Pragmatic Mom has a wonderful China Crafts and Activities post for kids, including all kinds of information about red envelopes.

Reading is Fundamental offers an very useful PDF lesson plan for Uncle Peter's Amazing Chinese Wedding 


  1. Having lived in Mainland China, I often cook Chinese meals and teach my kids some Mandarin words. This looks like a winner to show them about traditional Chinese weddings.

  2. So true about the multi-cultural books! The theme is so universal too! I can imagine many kids would feel the same! Lovely book, I definitely am getting this one to read!
    Thanks for linking up on Kid Lit Blog Hop!

  3. Oh, I love anything Chinese themed and I am a bower bird for anything red he he. This sounds like an awesome book. I want it. Thanks so much for joining us on the Kid Lit Blog Hop


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