It’s a good day for new readers when Grace Lin decides to write a book especially for them. And in Ling & Ting we have a story with details that new readers will love—twins, chapters, sunny illustrations and funny, realistic situations.

Twins Ling and Ting look exactly alike until a wiggling Ting causes a sneeze that makes the barber slip with his scissors. Now, people can certainly tell them apart. Six related stories introduce these two sisters, who have their own distinct personalities. When Ling does a card trick, Ting forgets the card she is supposed to remember. Ting’s dumplings are fat and lumpy, while Ling’s are smooth. Ting is adventurous with her chopsticks while Ling wisely uses a fork. Ting checks out the wrong library book for her sister. Each story is a slice of sisterly life filled with two little girls who enjoy each other, no matter what they look like.

There are so many things to like about this sweet offering for beginning readers. The story is constructed carefully so that new readers will have success. Many of the words are sight words and the other words are easily sounded out. Lin has the girls repeat parts of the stories, giving the new reader a way to remember the story while practicing reading new words. The stories are simple and familiar, but not boring. Lin’s whimsical illustrations show two sisters who enjoy each other and are just the kind of friends a first or second grade girl would like to have—kind and adventuresome, with a good sense of humor.

Writing for new readers is much more challenging than it looks, and Grace Lin successfully meets the challenges with a book that’s both readable and fun. Ling and Ting are sure to attract many fans, and we can only hope that the author has more adventures in store for these likable twins!

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