Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas
written by Natasha Yim; illustrated by Grace Zong
2014 (Charlesbridge)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Goldy Luck was born in the Year of the Golden Dragon, which is usually a sign of good luck. But she doesn’t feel very lucky. Last year she lost her red envelope of money and her best friend moved away. On this Chinese New Year’s Day, her mother has instructed her to take a plate of turnip cakes to the neighboring Chan family. When Goldy complains about this task, her mother explains that it is the perfect time to wash away old arguments and bad luck. Goldy goes to the panda family’s apartment and knocks on the door. When no one answers, she pushes the door open and drops the turnip cakes. Not more bad luck! She goes to the kitchen in search of a broom and spots three breakfast bowls of congee on the table. With a hungry stomach, Goldy decides to take a small taste from one of the bowls. The first bowl is too watery and the second bowl is too thick and clumpy, but the third bowl is so delicious that she eats it all up. Having not slept very well the night before, Goldy decides to rest a bit in a chair. Being the wise reader that you are, you know that the third chair is the charm for our sleepy girl. Unfortunately, the chair breaks which distresses Goldy and really makes her tired. Surely a small nap will not hurt. After trying out the first two beds, Goldy finds Little Chan’s futon to be just the ticket for a little rest. Meanwhile, the Chans come home to find turnip cakes on the floor. This leads to the Chans also finding a broken chair and a young girl in a futon. When Little Chan expresses his dismay, Goldy wakes up and runs out the door while apologizing. Up to this point, this book is a cute take on the Goldilocks story, but what I feel is the strength of this story is what follows after Goldy leaves her neighbor’s apartment. She learns a lesson in responsibility and how luck is sometimes created by our actions.

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas is a sweet story that teaches a lesson while being entertaining and not overbearing. It’s great that you can read this book as a resource for teaching about Chinese New Year, but also talk about character traits and making good decisions. My class is working on writing opinion papers and I think this book would be a good mini-lesson for drawing out opinions about Goldy’s actions. With a wonderful story and engaging illustrations, Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas would be an excellent addition to your picture book collection.

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