cover image My Day with Gong Gong

My Day with Gong Gong

Sennah Yee, illus. by Elaine Chen. Annick, $18.95 (36p) ISBN 978-1-77321-429-0

May, a girl of Chinese descent who only knows English, is nervous about spending the day with her maternal grandfather, who mainly speaks Cantonese. As the duo strolls through Chinatown and Gong Gong converses with neighbors, cashiers, and waitstaff, May grows frustrated (“ ‘Can we eat?’ I ask. He pats my head and smiles, but that’s not what I asked for!”). But when errant pigeon poop proves the last straw, Gong Gong shows he may understand May more than she thought. Watercolor and pencil crayon illustrations referencing various Chinatowns conjure a dreamlike authenticity in the neighborhood’s bustling, vibrant nature, finely balancing realistic backdrops with sweetly cartoonish characters, including May’s genuine, youthful first-person perspective. A glossary featuring traditional Cantonese characters and phonetic English pronunciations concludes this gentle, resonant portrayal of the way love can overcome language barriers. Ages 4–7. (Sept.)