The front cover of the book New Year Surprise by Christopher Cheng and Di Wu
by Christopher Cheng, illustrated by Di Wu

Little Brother is told by his brother and his friends that he’s too small to help out at the Spring Festival. He’s too little to fly a kite and he’s not strong enough to hold a dragon pole. But Father says he has a special job to do. What can it be?

He knows it’s not hanging the lanterns up, as Father has already done that. He knows it’s not choosing the treats from the hawker as Father has already chosen a duck. He knows it’s not serving tea or lighting fire crackers as he did those jobs last year. 

Follow Little Brother through the village to find out what his special job is.

Christopher Cheng’s story and Di Wu’s paintings recreate the magic of celebrating New Year in snowy rural northern China. Di’s stunning artwork reflects Chinese traditional techniques, using rice paper, Chinese brushes and the colours of traditional paintings.

At the back of the book, read about some of the different festivals held in China and about the rural setting of the book. Images from the National Library of Australia’s collection illustrate this section.

About the author

Christopher Cheng is an award-winning author of many children’s books including non-fiction, picture books and Chinese-themed historical fiction titles. He is co-chair of the Advisory Board for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and a recipient of the Lady Cutler Award for Children’s Literature. Christopher is also an ambassador for the National Centre for Australian Children’s Literature.

About the illustrator

Born in China, Di Wu was an editor and illustrator in one of the biggest Chinese fine arts publishing companies before coming to Australia. He won awards for the books he published in China, and his first Australian picture book, Rebel (with Allan Baillie), was short-listed for the Children’s Book Council Picture Book of the Year. He has since released Ali Baba, Old Magic (with Allan Baillie) and Grandpa’s Mask, with text by Jing Jing Guo. More recently, Di Wu collaborated with NLA Publishing author Jane Jolly to create Star of Anise.

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