National Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Kid Lit Review of “Polka Dot Penguin Pottery” by Lenore Look

20101231-Polka Dot Penguin Pottery

The author/illustrator team that produced Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding is back again with a charming book that opens sideways (fun in and of itself!) about a little girl who calls herself Aspen Colorado Kim Chee Lee. This, she tells us, is her “nom de plume” – her writing name. She is an author:

“I write stories about monkeys and elephants, aliens and robots, and sometimes, about me.”

But lately it hasn’t been going well:

“All my pages are blank, blank, blank. My gunggung and pohpoh call it Writer’s Block.”

Her grandparents suggest she take a break and do something else, so she goes with them and her baby sister into town, where they end up at the Polka Dot Penguin Pottery – a paint-your-own-pottery studio. It’s very fun in there, especially when some of her friends arrive as well.

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Kim decides to make an Easter Egg, but alas, now Kim has Pottery Block.

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To make matters worse, little Olivia drools on the egg she is trying to paint, and it is all smeary. But Kim’s friend Ivy likes it, telling Kim, “You can only make a masterpiece if you’re willing to make a mess.”

The bells of epiphany go off (at least in the adult readers’ heads), and before you know it, Kim has a beautiful egg. When she gets home, she runs straight to her tree house and puts up a sign, “Writer at work, do not disturb.”

Evaluation: This is a fun story that may inspire kids to try their own projects, with special appeal to all those kids who already love doing crafts but may not feel they are as adept at it as they would like to be. The illustrations by Yumi Heo are bright, colorful, and whimsical, evoking Maira Kalman, as the wonderful blogger Jama pointed out about the illustrator’s work in Uncle Peter’s Amazing Chinese Wedding.

Rating: 3.5/5

Note: The author has a blog, or as she calls it, “a globby blog or glob” for “all the young readers she meets who tell her that they want to be authors too!” The link is here.

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Published by Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., 2011

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3 Responses to National Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Kid Lit Review of “Polka Dot Penguin Pottery” by Lenore Look

  1. jama says:

    Oh, hadn’t heard of this one — thanks for featuring it! I love both Lenore’s and Yumi’s work :).

  2. Rachel says:

    Love the illustrations! And how cool that she has a website for budding, young authors. My nine-year old sometimes says he wants to be an author – I’ll have to share that site with him.

  3. stacybuckeye says:

    Crafts. Poor Gage has to do so many. Maybe one day he will learn to love it. He does love the glue part so there’s hope.

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