soup of the day: ling & ting: not exactly the same! by grace lin

 photo credit: Alexandre Ferron.

Polka dot polka dot. Hip hip hooray!!

Guess who’s got a brand new book officially out today?

Two clues:

  1. She’s one of my all-time favorite children’s author/illustrators.
  2. She likes to bake cupcakes.

Yes, Newbery Honor winner Grace Lin has done it again! Her new early reader, Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! (Little, Brown, 2010), packs a double wallop because it’s all about twins. If it’s possible to love a book twice as much as I should, I’m guilty times two.

How could I possibly resist these adorable imps? Everyone tells Ling and Ting they are exactly the same, but in six interconnected vignettes, they show us just how different they are — in personality and abilities.

In the first story, the girls get a haircut. Ling sits still and gets a nice clip, but Ting’s a bit of a wriggle worm, sneezing when hair falls on her nose. “Oh no!” She ends up sporting a cutting edge (giggle) set of bangs for the rest of the book. An ingenious way to set the stage, making us want to read more of their amusing antics.

Now, as much as I love Ling’s magic card trick and Ting’s trip to the library, I must point out that there are two whole stories about
food — one, preparing it, the second, eating it. And what did they eat? DUMPLINGS!


*kill me, kill me now, i’m so happy*

How cute are these two in their chef hats, rolling out dough, mixing the filling, and shaping the dumplings into half moons — nice and smooth for Ling’s, fat and lumpy for Ting’s (aptly named dump-Tings). Each story is simply told and contains just the right measure of fun, verve, and believability.

The final story, “Mixed Up,” features the girls in their red polka dot dresses, picnicking with chocolate cupcakes! *swoon* They’re reading Grace Lin books, natch, and Ting makes up a funny story using (and cleverly mixing) elements from the previous five
stories — the perfect way to stir up a warm serving of friendship and togetherness.

Grace said this book inspired her dotted dresses.

Easy readers are notoriously difficult to write, and with Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!, Grace has proved her mettle yet again. She’s one of those rare authors who can successfully write across genres — picture books, chapter books, novels, and now, early readers. The everyday scenarios will engage and amuse the targeted age group, and the simple framed illos, with their thin black outlines, cheery colors, and winsome details, nicely complement the text.

Twins who helped inspire the book see galleys for the first time.

Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! has already received four well-deserved *starred reviews* from Horn Book, Booklist, School Library Journal, and Kirkus, and is a Junior Library Guild selection. Fuse #8 calls it a future classic, and SLJ has compared it to Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad (wow)! It’s a much needed early reader with a multicultural flavor, and the sibling dynamics are spot (or should I say, “dot”) on. So, with absolutely no hesitation at all, I give Ling & Ting my highest five spoon rating!

Before I ladle out the soup, feast on this trailer, featuring the voice of Grace’s niece, Lily:

Funny thing, Ling and Ting, while reading your book, I wondered if your author lives here:

    photo: myrbuckler.

To honor her today, and properly thank her for writing this wonderful book, here is some special celebration soup. Ting, you may use chopsticks to eat the alphabet pasta, and Ling, no need to stress — just sip directly from the bowl. Everyone else, join me now in congratulating Grace: Happy Book Birthday!!

Today’s Special: Double Happiness Soup (twice the flavor, twice the fun).

Naturally, we must have some dumplings with our soup:

photo by nasilemaklovermm.

For today only, we’ll be serving tea with dessert. Take a cup and I will pour:

Teapot and Teacups: sylviascreation.

Polka dot cupcakes, of course. Since we’re celebrating twins, everyone gets two:

 Red dot cupcakes by Wild Orchid Baking Co.

Time to fling yourself over to your local indie or fave online bookseller to score your very own copy of Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! If you go to a bricks and mortar store, you MUST wear polka dots (red and white is best). Wink twice at the cashier, call him or her, “Dumpling,” and click your heels two times. Best to buy two books — one to give away, one to keep!

written and illustrated by Grace Lin
published by Little, Brown (July 2010)
Early Reader for ages 5-8, 48 pp.


Visit Grace Lin’s official website for professional reviews and Behind the Story details for Ling and Ting.

Mark July 6th on your calendars! Grace will be hosting a virtual book launch party at her blog, gracenotes! Can’t wait to see the fun things she has planned for her legions of fans. ☺

Click here to read all about the terrific Ling and Ting Launch Party held last week at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA. I don’t know of any other author who puts so much love into all the details. Cupcakes were served (check out those adorable hand-painted toppers)! Guests dressed alike!

Online Reviews: BookDragon, KidsReads, We Love Children’s Books.

Recent interview with Grace and Tarie Sabido at Asia in the Heart, World on the Mind.


 photo by tweetydoo105.

Click click!

*Author photo and picnic spread used by permission, copyright © 2010 Grace Lin. All rights reserved.

*Special thanks to June of Four Green Acres for permission to post photo of twins, Blossom and Fern.

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

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