Why did I get it: I’ve read great reviews for it, and the cover is totally adorable.
How I would rate it: 5 out of 5 stars.
Clara Lee likes her best friends, her grandpa, kimchi, candy necklaces (her signature look!), and the idea of winning the Little Miss Apple Pie contest.
Clara Lee doesn’t like her mom’s fish soup, bad dreams (but Grandpa says they mean good luck!), speaking in public, or when her little sister is being annoying.
One day, after a bad dream, Clara Lee is thrilled to have a whole day of luck. But then, bad luck starts to follow. When will Clara Lee’s luck change again? Will it change in time for the Little Miss Apple Pie contest?
Review: Without a doubt, this is one of the cutest, sweetest books I’ve read in a long time. The story is told from Clara Lee’s point of view and in such a believable way that I almost feel like a kid wrote this book. The illustrations done by Julia Kuo added a lot of dimension and really enhanced the story. I liked the way Kuo captured the characters and drew Clara Lee’s lists.
In terms of the words themselves, I loved everything about this story from Clara Lee’s take on Korean and American customs, her signature candy necklace look, her issues with her little sister, her trying to handle her friend’s crush on her, and her continued efforts try to prove she is just as deserving of special attention as anyone else.
The relationship between Clara Lee and her grandfather was probably the best part of the book, but Han does a very good job of fleshing out all the other members of Clara Lee’s family and kids in her life. Han also passes along messages of diversity and acceptance in a real nice and non-preachy way that I think will really appeal to kids who –like Clara Lee– are learning to be proud of who they are and where their family is from but without leaving out kids who just want to read a fun story about a girl who finds the confidence to pursue a rather ambitious dream.
In conclusion, a very good and short book that deserves more attention. I am incredibly sad that Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream doesn’t seem to be the start of a series, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that someday there will be more.