Mommy surprises Brandon with his grandma from China, Pó Po (婆婆), when she picks him up from school one day. When they get home, the adventure begins! While Brandon and Pó Po (婆婆) are making Chinese dumplings, called jiǎo zi (餃子), Brandon makes a mess and he and Pó Po (婆婆) have a good laugh! They chat and bond over the experience. Then Brandon eats and eats and eats and makes a surprise at the end that delights the whole family! This adorable story includes some conversational Mandarin Chinese (including Pinyin - pronunciation) and is written the way a real Chinese grandmother and her Chinese-American grandson would speak with each other. It is a fun read for families with children who are learning, or are interested in, Mandarin or Chinese culture.
Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi (餃子), by Eugenia Chu is an illustrated children's story that mixes American and Chinese cultures, bringing not only traditions together, but also the two languages. Brandon's parents live in the United States but the boy's grandmother lives in China, and she comes for a visit. What follows is a series of high energy, child experiences focused on his favorite Chinese food and his grandmother. The book includes a preface describing how to pronounce Chinese syllables and a glossary of Chinese words and numbers.
The book is filled with humor, fun and simple child-like drawings. You can feel Brandon's energy as he prepares (or so attempts) his favorite dish with his grandmother, but more importantly bonding with a family member who has come from far away. I appreciate how this story is based in the reality of the author, Eugenia Chu, and how her life experience is shared in this book. Family is paramount, and something as simple as preparing food together can make positive memories that could last the lifetime of Brandon. Sharing these experiences allows the reader to appreciate the values of this happy family.
Brandon Makes Jiǎo Zi not only helps two cultures to harmonize through family, but it also can be helpful for family members who are separated over long distances. This story can help children appreciate family, and guide them in creating positive memories themselves. I am so glad I was able to review this outstanding story and I heartily recommend it to families with young children the world over.-Bruce E. Arrington, Author of the Josh Avril Series and the Fallen Powers series