Does the name sound familiar? Does it sound like another popular children’s story you know? If you haven’t guessed it, it sounds very much like Goldilocks and the Three Bears!
Natasha Yim, the author of this children’s story, shares an aspect of the Chinese-Malaysian culture through her own Asian version of the Goldilocks story, where Goldilocks becomes Goldy Luck. Here, Goldy Luck is a young Chinese girl who is far from her namesake. Though born in the year of the Golden Dragon, which is considered very lucky in the Chinese horoscope, she seems to be a magnet of bad luck. Besides not being able to hold on to her money long enough, she always seems to be breaking things!
The story takes place on Chinese New Year. Goldy Luck’s mother sends her off to her neighbor, the Chans, to bring over some turnip cakes. Goldy whines but her mother insists. She reminds Goldy Luck that she needs to be nice otherwise she’ll only get more bad luck!
But because it’s a Chinese story, Natasha replaces bears with, of course, pandas! So while everyone in the story is human, for some reason their neighbors, the Chans, are pandas! And not unlike the original story, Goldy Luck then has a taste of the Chans’ congees, tests their seats and even tries to sleep in their beds. And as the story goes, it’s always Little Chan’s things that she loves the most!
I really love how the author weaved this story, turning a classic into a relatable story for those celebrating Chinese New Year. Grace Zong, the illustrator, also vividly shares through her beautiful art the different aspects of the Chinese culture that not everyone knows about, like the red money packet the little bird is trying to steal on the third page, the turnip cakes generally eaten by Chinese-Malaysians (which are actually radish cakes, but more on that later), and even the red Chinese New Year decorations here and there. There’s even the altar of the Grandma, which is very typical of Chinese homes!
But what I love the most is the ending. In the end, Goldy is hounded by her guilt and ends up taking control of her “luck”. How exactly she does that, well, you’ll have to buy the book to know! 🙂
P.S. Another big love is the fact that the author explains a bit more about the Chinese culture in her Author’s Note and also the turnip cake recipe at the end! (I’m planning to try it with the kids soon!)
So… if Turnip Cake isn’t made of turnips, then why call it that? It’s because white turnip in Chinese is called lo bak, so technically one could say it’s still kinda made of “turnip” cakes. 😉
An advanced happy Chinese New Year everyone! Next Sunday, I’ll be featuring another book about another tradition during Chinese New Year that you may not have known about.