By Elizabeth Wroten
Chapter Book Review: Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same by Grace Lin
On 22, Apr 2015 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten
From GoodReads: Ling and Ting are two adorable identical twins, and they stick together, whether they are making dumplings, getting their hair cut, or practicing magic tricks. But looks are deceiving–people can be very different, even if they look exactly the same.
This is such a darling early chapter book! Ling and Ting are absolutely adorable and they are FUNNY. The chapters weave together with jokes about Ting’s forgetfulness, Ling’s magic trick, and the idea that they are not the same (despite being twins). A mishap at the barbershop in the first chapter both sets the humorous tone and helps the reader figure out which twin is which.
The book really shines as an ode to sisterhood. Ling and Ting, as the title suggests, are not exactly the same. They have different interests, are good at different things, and don’t look exactly alike. The final chapter has them bickering over a story Ting is telling which mixes up all the previous chapters. The only point that isn’t contentious is the ending about how they stay together always. Try not to have your heart squish at that.
The book is perfect for kids just starting to read longer books. The illustrations support the text perfectly and are also wonderful. Although not part of a series, it’s similar to the longer I Can Read or Step Into Reading books. The format and reading level (and the humor to some extent) bring to mind the Little Bear series of books. Kids in the first and second grade range will really appreciate the humor of the stories and parents will too. There are four more Ling and Ting books, although I’m not sure they’re all chapters like this one, but that’s another plus for this age group.
One final note, I think the chapter about chopsticks is a bit of a nod to How My Parents Learned to Eat. I’m not sure if that’s actually true, but it sure seemed like it. That was one of my favorite books growing up so I like to think it is.