My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder

Nie Jun, trans. from the French by Edward Gauvin. Graphic Universe, $9.99 paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-5415-2642-6
This big-hearted debut is set in a traditional Beijing neighborhood of one-story dwellings whose tiled roofs and arched bridges offer an atmospheric backdrop for four tales. The author doesn’t explain why Yu’er walks with a crutch, or where her parents have gone. But the unshakable love that she and Grandpa share form the solid ground of these stories, which, in the manner of a Miyazaki film, slip from reality into a dreamy otherworld and back. In the first, Grandpa comes up with a novel way for Yu’er to “swim” in their courtyard. In the second, a boy defends Yu’er from bullies and introduces her to the glories of insect song. The third memorializes Yu’er’s late Gramma with a lovely twist that ventures into science fiction, and the fourth follows Grandpa and Yu’er as they melt the heart of a grumpy artist nicknamed Pumpkin. “Is this a dream?” Pumpkin asks. “Yep!” Grandpa replies. “And we all need dreams, don’t we?” Delicate pen-and-ink drawings glow with sunny colors in this graphic novel, and the sequential storytelling shines. Gauvin’s translation, from the French edition, is a translation in turn from the Chinese. Ages 7–11. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 12/03/2018
Release date: 09/01/2018
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 128 pages - 978-1-5124-9859-2
Library Binding - 128 pages - 978-1-5124-4590-9
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