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By Allen Say
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Reviewed by Allison Martin

Allison is the story of a young girl adopted from Asia who reacts with sadness and anger upon realization that she is adopted . Her self discovery is triggered by a gift of a doll in a kimono, but intensified by longings for her birth mother and desire to be similar to other families. In the end, she "adopts" a stray cat which soothes her feelings.

The illustrations do an wonderful job of portraying the feelings of Allison and her parents. The colors are rich and deep and the layout is effective. This book would work well for discussions of the feelings around adoption, which will come up for children and their parents as their children get older. Young children and their parents will enjoy the portrayal of the Allison with her beloved doll (although the suggestion that she had the doll before she was adopted is odd). The pictures may work well for a younger child, while an elementary student will respond to the issues it presents.

This story of a young Asian girl who comes to terms with cross-cultural adoption has beautiful illustrations but is slightly marred by an odd text. Parents will want to guide their children in discussions without encouraging an unwarranted feeling of isolation or anger before it is actually felt.

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Copyright Allison Martin 2001

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