Hazel and Twig: The Birthday Fortune by Brenna Burns Yu

Hazel and Twig: The Birthday Fortune by Brenna Burns Yu
Review Copy from Candlewick Press
Story: Twig's first birthday is approaching and big sister Hazel and family are getting ready. Hazel's mouse family are culturally Korean, with celebrations, foods, words and clothing reflecting this. There is even a glossary and author's note at the end of the book. As the day of Twig's party approaches, the family prepares, especially for the doljabi, the traditional Korean first birthday fortunetelling ceremony that will predict the baby's future. Being almost one year old, Twig is very distractible and Yu captures this marvelously in her story, incorporating it into the climax of the story. As Twig is toddling toward the the objects that will predict her future, a feather slowly falls from the sky and she reaches up for it. What does this mean for her future? Observant Hazel tells the party goers that Twig likes kites and balloons and a feather myst mean that she will fly some day! Yu ends the book sweetly, with the family hugging under a starry sky as the party ends, with Hazel imagining her future with Twig.
Pictures: Yu's adorable illustrations and pastel palette drew me to this book right immediately. What a wonderful surprise to find Yu's delicate illustration style bringing beautiful Korean clothing, like the hanbok, the stunning traditional outfit Twig and Hazel wear, and delicious Korean food (adapted for mice - dandelion kimchi, wildflower bibimbap and barbecued acorns) to the page as well as adorable mice! 
Why Read? Why Buy?: Read and buy this book because it has two rarities in picture books in one place - a superb birthday story AND a culturally diverse story! On top of that, you have a lovely representation of a loving sibling relationship, as Hazel is only excited for her sister's birthday and never jealous. With the combination of Yu's illustrations and story, Hazel and Twig: The Birthday Fortune is a gift.

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