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The Red Thread

by Grace Lin Albert Whitman; $16.95

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"This story again? Youíve heard it a hundred times," the mother asks her little girl on the opening spread of The Red Thread (Albert Whitman; $16.95; ages 4-8). And with that, the mom begins to read.

Grace Linís lovely and lyrical picture book is a tale within a tale. A king and queen, happy and contented rulers of a peaceful land, awake one day with a deep ache in their hearts. With the aid of his magical spectacles, a wise, old peddler shows the royal couple that their heartache is caused by a tangled red thread, and tells them they must undertake a journey to find the source of the twists and pulls. As the thread grows shorter and shorter, they are drawn to an unfamiliar, but friendly, village, where they discover the beautiful baby girl destined to become their daughter.

Lin is a talented author and illustrator, and she brings a unique and inspired sensibility to the "legend of the red thread," well-known to families adopting from China. Sweetly told but never cloying, The Red Thread is a delight to read and share. It would have been nice if the book showed how the red thread connects the little girl with the village of her birth, as well as with her new family. Life isnít linear, after all; itís cumulative, and adoption stories tend to omit that point. But thatís a quibble. This engaging story is sure to put a smile on the faces of the storyteller and his or her little audienceóeven after a hundred readings.

Reviewed by Roberta Rosenberg, the owner of and, and mom to three children.

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