Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim

I received this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My three girls love reading, so when I received the opportunity to read Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas. This is a picture book written by Natasha Yim and illustrated by Grace Zong.

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas is a modern version of the classic fairytale Goldilocks that also incorporates elements of Chinese New Year celebrations. When Goldy is asked to go next door to take turnip cakes to the Chan family, she discovers that no one is at home. She helps herself to their congee (rice porridge), sits in their chairs, and sleeps in their beds. When the Chan family returns, they are surprised to discover that their house is in shambles, and even more surprised to find Goldy sleeping in Little Chan’s bed. Goldy runs away, but then she feels bad about what she has done. Goldy returns to the house, apologizes, and realizes that he has more in common with Little Chan than she thought she did.

The illustrations are wonderful. My girls and I thought it was especially fun that there is a parade/celebration for Chinese New Year going on in the background in many of the pictures. Goldy also has some hilarious facial expressions as she experiences the pandas’ house, as does the Chan family when they return to their home. Holiday decorations are on display in both homes, and Goldy’s house is full of panda themed items, from stuffed animals to lamps.

This was such a wonderful story. Putting the story in a modern context makes it easier to relate to Goldy. My girls thought it was very funny that Mr. Chan’s chair was a massage chair, and there was definitely a unique spin on the traditional formula. My girls and I also learned a lot about Chinese New Year; they knew a little about the holiday because my oldest daughter received a red envelope from her friend who lives down the street. There is a recipe for turnip cakes at the end of the story, and the girls are excited about trying the recipe.

One of the things that we learned the most about is that it is important to start the new year on the right foot to avoid bad luck. We celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and these holidays also emphasize forgiveness and redemption to ensure a prosperous year. It was very enlightening to discover that these themes transcend cultural boundaries.

We all want our children to grow up with good values, and so I appreciate books where basic themes where characters acknowledging wrongdoing. Making mistakes is inevitable, but it’s important that we make things right.

I would absolutely recommend Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas. This book is perfect for older preschoolers as well as children in the early years of elementary school. In the traditional Goldilocks story, the little burglar is either devoured by the bears, or she absconds, leaving the bears with a messy house. Goldy Luck returns to the house, and by apologizing, she ensures that she will have a good year. This is a relevant message for all of us.

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