Thursday, November 8, 2018

Review - Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
by Natasha Yim
illustrated by Grace Zong
Date: 2014
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

In this Chinese American retelling of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," a careless Goldy Luck wreaks havoc on the home of a family of panda bears. She eats up the littlest panda’s rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and rumples all the blankets on his futon. When Goldy takes responsibility for her actions, she makes a new friend (and a whole plate of turnip cakes!) just in time for Chinese New Year.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is how you take a story from one cultural tradition and adapt it to another. Unlike The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes, which felt the need to take a rude swipe at the original source material, Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas takes the original "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" story and adapts it to a Chinese New Year theme. It's a bit gentler than the original, since Goldy isn't breaking any laws; she's actually the Chans' neighbour, and she goes over to their house to deliver some turnip cakes, only to discover that the pandas aren't home. Despite warning her mother that she was sleepy and hungry, she was told to make the visit anyway... which of course leads to the familiar elements of the story as Goldy eats all of Little Chan's congee and ends up falling asleep in his bed. There aren't really any surprises here if you know the original story, but I liked the twist of having all the Chinese elements and the bears being pandas.

The illustrations are super cute. I liked how there are a few panda motifs in Goldy's life (her toy, her bowl, etc.). And why wouldn't she like pandas? The Chans are actually very nice. They don't hold her actions against her, especially once she apologizes and helps to clean up (something the original Goldilocks never did, as far as I can recall).

The back of the book features an author's note that explains a bit about Chinese New Year and the significance of some of the symbols and traditions. There's also a bit about the Chinese zodiac, as well as a recipe for turnip cakes. So, overall, this book has a lot to offer: a cute retelling of a classic story, along with some facts and a yummy-sounding recipe. What's not to like?

Quotable moment:

One Chinese New Year, Goldy's mother woke her up and sent her to wish their neighbors Kung Hei Fat Choi.

"But Ma Ma, I'm still sleepy, and I'm so hungry."

"It'll only take a minute," her mother said. "Mr. and Mrs. Chan would enjoy a visit from you. Take these turnip cakes to share with Little Chan."

Premise: 5/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 5/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4.33 out of 5

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