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Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

5.0 1
by Natasha Yim, Grace Zong

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Karen Grencik, Red Fox Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Studio Goodwin Sturges. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
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.

--School Library Journal April 2014

Set in a contemporary city, Natasha Yim and Grace Zong’s Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas (Charlesbridge, 2014) stars a protagonist with shining coal-black locks, a bad habit of breaking things, and—despite her name—a lack of good luck. On Chinese New Year, her mother wakes Goldy up before breakfast and sends her to their neighbors’ apartment with a plate of turnip cakes and Kung Hei Fat Choi wishes. After knocking on the door, Goldy gently pushes it open, trips, and spills the goodies all over the floor. As she searches for the broom, she spots three steaming bowls of congee and, tummy rumbling, decides to taste the rice porridge. So it goes, until the Chan family—three pandas, of course—returns to discover a big mess and Goldy sound asleep on Little Chan’s futon. Back at home, she thinks about her actions, and, truly embracing the spirit of this start-the-year-fresh holiday, decides to set things right. Themes of friendship and forgiveness resound, as Goldy makes amends and is invited to bake a new batch of turnip cakes (a recipe and information about Chinese New Year customs are appended). The text playfully incorporates festive food-related similes (Goldy feels “like stuffing in a pork bun” in Mrs. Chan’s upholstered armchair), and both narrative and acrylic artwork abound with details of Chinese-American culture.

--School Library Journal, March 23, 2015

Children's Literature - Leona Illig
Goldy Luck, a little girl living in Chinatown, is eager to celebrate the Chinese New Year. On the big day, her parents send her to the neighbor's house to share some delicious turnip cakes with the three pandas who live there. But bad luck seems to follow Goldy around. First, the pandas are not at home, and Goldy spills the turnip cakes all over their floor. Then she eats their food, breaks the littlest panda's chair, and then falls asleep in his futon. When she is discovered, she runs away. But unlike the more famous Goldilocks, this Goldy is very sorry for the mess she has caused. Can she make things right with the panda family—and will they forgive her? This irreverent, funny twist on the classic "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" story will delight youngsters, especially those familiar with the original story and with Chinese New Year traditions. The importance of food is a primary theme of this book, and food-based similes and metaphors are sprinkled throughout. There is even a recipe for turnip cakes in the back, as well as a very useful and interesting author's note explaining Chinese customs and New Year's greetings. The illustrations are large and pleasant. The humor in the story—derived from the fact that while Goldy was supposed to share food, she ends up eating the panda's food instead—is gentle and amusing, and the moral of the story is satisfying. The Goldilocks story is a classic, and this version is one that should be welcomed and appreciated by readers and their parents and teachers. The inclusion of some Chinese phrases in the text is also a nice touch. Reviewer: Leona Illig
Kirkus Reviews
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. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

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Penguin Random House Publisher Services
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9 MB

Read an Excerpt

When Goldy Luck was born, her mother said, "Year of the Golden Dragon--very lucky year. This child will have good luck." "She has a face as round as a gold coin," said her father. "This child will bring great wealth." But Goldy had neither great wealth nor good luck. In fact, she could never seem to keep money in her piggy bank, and she had a bad habit of breaking things.

Meet the Author

Natasha Yim is the author of Sacajawea of the Shoshone (Goosebottom, 2012), Cixi, "The Dragon Empress" (Goosebottom, 2001), and Otto’s Rainy Day. She lives in Ukiah, California, with her family.

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Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Booth More than 1 year ago
To begin, the cover of this book is adorable. I could tell that this was going to be an adaptation of “Goldylocks and the Three Bears” with a wonderful new twist. What a refreshing way to teach kids about the traditions of the Chinese New Year! I have read many books describing the celebrations, but this is written in a way that both adults and children can share in the learning together. It takes the classic story, wraps the tradition throughout it with new words and beautiful drawings and gives us a brand new story with a new family and neighborhood to explore. I love how, unlike the original story, Goldy goes back after realizing what a mess she has made of the Chans’ home. Through helping repair their broken furniture and giving Little Chan her bowl of congee, children learn accountability for their actions and how if they’re on the other side, how to forgive. Together, the Chans and Goldy prepare a variety of Chinese New Year dishes and learn that friendship is the ultimate good luck charm. At the end of the book, there are terms to help the reader understand the different symbols of the Chinese New Year mentioned throughout the book as well as adorable illustrations. It explains the Chinese Zodiac and even includes a recipe for turnip cakes, which Little Chan and Goldy make together in the story. Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas might have been written with children in mind, but all ages will enjoy this heartwarming remix of a classic tale.