My Day with Gong Gong

Annick. Sept. 2020. 36p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781773214290.
K-Gr 2–When May is left to stay with her Gong Gong for the day, she is not quite sure what to expect, mostly because Gong Gong doesn’t speak much English and May doesn’t speak Cantonese. Once the old gentleman wakes up from his nap, it’s off to Chinatown. Grandpa happily waves to all his friends in the neighborhood while May is left to wonder what they are saying. They greet street vendors, stop at a gift shop, and eventually end up at a park where they play cards with Gong Gong’s friends. But May has had enough! She is hungry and frustrated. Gong Gong comforts her with a toy and a pork bun; they forge a connection despite the language barrier. The lighting in the watercolor illustrations accompany the changing mood of the day; as May and Gong Gong return home, shopkeepers are closing, and the colors turn dusky. They perfectly capture the mood of the characters and the intentions of the story.
VERDICT Featuring a winsome pair, this is a wonderful, sympathetic story, and the bonus is a small glossary of Cantonese words. Pair with Sylvia Liu’s A Morning with Grandpa.

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