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Rating: 3/5 Stars
Genre: Historical (1950's)
Release Date: 1/1/11
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About the Book: Artie is the youngest and smallest cousin, which means he is always getting picked on. At one family gathering Artie can't take the bullying from his cousin Petey, so he bragged that he would get everyone firecrackers at the Chinese New Year's celebration. Now Artie has to come up with the money, but he knows he can count of his Uncle Chester to help him out. That is until Uncle Chester has a string of bad luck.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: The Star Maker is a short, simple book that would be great for a classroom read alound for young tweens. The setting is very vivid and the descriptions of San Francisco and Chinatown come to life in the story. I really enjoyed the authors notes at the end about traditional Chinese New Year's celebrations and I think this would make a great read for students learning about Chinese New Year.
The story itself is a bit simple and the characters could have been developed more. I liked the relationship between Artie and Uncle Chester and it was nice to see a positive adult in Artie's life who was helping him with his cousins and encouraging him. Since Uncle Chester was the youngest of his generation, he understood Artie and watched out for him.
The book is short-just 100 pages, so it could be read quickly. I think it would also be a great early chapter book for younger readers who are moving up into chapter books. A nice story of tradition and family.
Book Pairings: Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream by Jenny Han (both books have strong family stories and I think they would pair nicely for young tweens)
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC sent by publisher