Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
Natasha Yim, author
Natasha Yim is the author of Sacajawea of the Shoshone, Cixi: “The Dragon Empress”, and Otto’s Rainy Day. She lives in Ukiah, California.
Read more about Natasha.
Grace Zong, illustrator
Grace Zong is the illustrator of Orange Peel’s Pocket. She splits her time between New York and Korea.
Read more about Grace.
- A Junior Library Guild Selection
School Library Journal
In this clever picture-book retelling of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears," Chinese New Year starts with Goldy Luck's mother asking her to bring turnip cakes to their panda neighbors, the Chans. Goldy heads next door, promptly spilling her plate of turnip cakes as she walks in the front door; from there, things unfold as might be expected. She eats up Little Chan's rice porridge, breaks his rocking chair, and falls asleep on his futon. Goldy Luck's conscience gets the better of her, though, and she learns some valuable lessons about friendship and being a good neighbor. Zong's acrylic cartoon-style illustrations benefit from well-balanced one-and two-page spreads. Red, a color strongly associated with Chinese New Year and symbolic of good luck, is used as a motif throughout; fittingly, Goldy Luck wears a red sweater and tights. Employing complementary and analogous colors provides balance, and the illustrations are appealing and humorous without being over-the-top. This is a fun retelling of a familiar tale with Chinese-American characters and cultural references, using the celebration of Chinese/Lunar New Year as the backdrop for a story that can be enjoyed year round. An author's note about Chinese New Year and a recipe for turnip cakes are appended.
Goldy Luck, not an especially lucky child, is awoken by her mother one Chinese New Year and sent to the neighbors' to wish them "Kung Hei Fat Choi" and deliver a plate of turnip cakes.
Tired and hungry, and thinking of the neighbor boy who doesn't share, she is reluctant, but she takes her mother's advice seriously: To avoid bad luck in the new year, she must resolve arguments and be kind. Though no one is home at the Chans', she enters--and drops the cakes. In trying to clean up, she follows the typical "Goldilocks" storyline, eating the Chans' congee, breaking a chair, falling asleep in a bed. When the Chans (anthropomorphized pandas) return home, the embarrassed Goldy runs away, but her conscience gets the better of her. In a moral addendum, Goldy returns to the Chans' to put things right, forming a friendship with Little Chan in the process. Zong's acrylic illustrations bring Goldy's culture to life through small details in the households as well as the Chinese New Year parade glimpsed through the doors and windows, though some of the details (Mr. Chan's massage chair) may seem stereotypical. An author's note explains more about Chinese New Year and is followed by a chart, unfortunately yearless, of the Chinese zodiac and concludes with a recipe for turnip cakes.
A welcome Chinese addition to the fairy-tale shelf.
Having set out to transpose the story of Goldilocks into the key of the Chinese New Year, Yim (Otto’s Rainy Day) turns in a solid performance. The forest becomes a Chinese neighborhood, the bears become pandas, the porridge becomes congee (rice porridge), and the errand becomes Goldy Luck’s delivery of turnip cakes to the parents of her friend Little Chan. “He never shares stuff with me,” Goldy Luck grumbles, and her mother replies, “Wash away old arguments and be nice, or you’ll have bad luck.” Zong’s (Orange Peel’s Pocket) paintings provide additional information about life in a Chinese family with close looks at scenes inside both houses; there’s even a household altar with offerings placed before a picture of a panda ancestor. In Goldilocks tradition, Goldy Luck wreaks havoc and the Chans discover her: “Look. It’s Goldy Luck, sleeping on my futon!” The images and story emphasize family life, cooperation, security, and warmth, while author’s notes explain Chinese notions of good fortune and the Chinese zodiac system, and supply a recipe for turnip cake.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-729-3 EPUB
ISBN: 978-1-60734-629-6 PDF
Page count: 32
11 x 8 1/2
Correlated to Common Core State Standards:
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 2. Standards 1-7, 9 and 10
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 3. Standards 1-7 and 10