Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim, illustrated by Grace Zong
So this might seem like a Chinese New Year title (because it is – although I just received a copy; the first print run sold out almost immediately, yippee!), but it’s even more about sharing, forgiveness, and friendship. Which means don’t read it just once a year – keep it handily available to remind the kids (and us old folks, ahem) about the need for second chances.
Born in the Year of the Golden Dragon, Goldy should have been blessed with good luck and great wealth. Neither prophecy has come true (yet) – she’s apparently a bit of a clumsy spendthrift prone to breaking things. She’s also none too happy when Ma Ma wakes her up early to wish their neighbors “Kung Hei Fat Choi” with a fresh plate of turnip cakes, whining that Little Chan “never shares stuff with me.” Her wise mother chides her, “It’s the New Year … Wash away old arguments and be nice, or you’ll have bad luck.” [Uhhh, someone should remind curmudgeonly me that every morning; fresh turnip cakes might make me listen!]
Next door Goldy reluctantly goes. Finding no one home, she pushes the door and tumbles in, catapulting the cakes all over the floor. From there, she leaves quite the mess in her wake, finding three bowls of congee (finishing the last), trying out three chairs (breaking the third), deliriously hoping to get back to sleep (falling into the futon). When the Chan family returns, Goldy dashes out with hasty apologies.
Back at home, she’s got some thinking to do … not to mention another visit next door. And that’s where she finally finds some good luck with a good friend, as well a whole plate of fresh turnip cakes. I want, I want!
Natasha Yim‘s spirited, multi-culti mish-mash of classic western fairy tale and cultural adventure is also a gentle lesson on friendship. Illustrator Grace Zong makes sure readers (even us jaded adults) have some rollicking fun along the way (check out Papa Chan’s massage chair, the queen-size electric bed, the zodiac kitchen rug). Together, theirs is a delightful, timeless 21st-century tale (yes, oxymoron definitely intended!).