a fortunate find

30 days of pbDay TwoGoldy Luck and the Three Pandas

By Natasha Yim, Illustrated by Grace Zong

Charlesbridge 2014.

GoldyLuckThreePandas_300small “One Chinese New Year, Goldy Luck’s mother asks her to take a plate of turnip cakes to the neighbors. The Chans aren’t home, but that doesn’t stop Goldy. She tries out their rice porridge, their chairs, and their beds—with disastrous results. What an unlucky way to start the year!”—Publisher’s Comments

GoldyLuck_4-5leftStill waking for the day, Goldy runs the errand for her mother rather begrudgingly. Finding the Chan’s apartment empty, she also finds the congee (rice porridge) too much to resist, same with the chairs and beds. Of course, the Chan’s know who she is when she runs away. It is a wonderful twist that Goldy cannot forget what she’s done and how it affects her neighbors. The apology goes over well and she begins her new year on a high note, suggesting maybe that some wealth and good luck can be made, not merely wished or destined.


Yim is humorous, and the illustrations (acrylic on paper) carry the same kind of warmth and dry-wit. Yim’s version of the classic tale has details that make the story relatable to modern audiences, and manages to entertain and write a good lesson. Goldy is rewritten from a selfish, invading figure to a child who can be a bit foolish and unlucky, but who can also be sympathetic and fortunate.

goldyluck interior

The illustrations are engaging, with just the right balance of realism and play (like the text itself). Yim and Zong have created a successful partnership here. The colors and the movement, the openness, are attractive and easy on the eyes. And if so desired, only reading the pictures will tell a great deal of the story itself.

An “Author’s Note” follows the story wherein it further illuminates the themes and actions of the story, “Before New Year’s Day it is customary for people to clean their houses, repay their debts, and resolve old arguments in order to star fresh in the new year, as Goldy’s mother advises her.” And there is a translation for a well-wishing she uses in the story with a pronunciation guide in both Cantonese and Mandarin.


“The Chinese Zodiac” and “A Lucky Character” are nice paragraphs accompanying a rather adorable rendering of the Chinese zodiac. The final bonus feature is not the least for being last: a “Turnip Cake” recipe!

A delightful read…for an occasion or no. It will be one to own, and share.


Natasha Yim  also authored Otto’s Rainy Day (Charlesbridge 2000); Cixi the Dragon Empress (Goosebottom 2011); and Sacajawea and the Shoshone with illus. Albert Nguyen (Goosebottom 2012)

Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, at five she moved to Singapore, and at 10 Hong Kong. She traces her love of writing back to First Form English class (~7th grade). When studying in college in California, Yim earned her first BA in English Lit w/ a Writing emphasis, but went on to receive an M.S. in Counseling Psychology. “Most of my job career has been in counseling or social work. […] Along the way, I’ve written articles for regional and national magazines and newspapers, and three picture books.” (My Story)  “In addition to being a children’s author, I’m a freelance writer and playwright.” (Other Writing)

Grace Zong  Studied at RISD; She splits her time between New York and Korea. She also illustrated Orange Peel’s Pocket by Rose A. Lewis (Harry N. Abrams 2010), her first picture book.

{images belong to Grace Zong}


Published by L

I read, and I write. and until recently, I sold books.

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