Books by Michelle Chang

GOLDFISH AND CHRYSANTHEMUMS by Andrea Cheng
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2003

Nancy and Greg's Ni Ni (Grandmother) gets a letter from her brother, who still lives in China. The city of Suzhou is tearing down their father's house and garden to make way for apartment buildings. Ni Ni is understandably distraught, and Nancy wants to cheer her up. After a trip to the summer fair to search for ideas, Nancy decides to build a miniature goldfish pond in the backyard, complete with the yellow flowers Ni Ni remembers from her father's garden. With help from a neighbor and brother Greg, Nancy completes her surprise. They take pictures to send to China, and Ni Ni finds a special way to say thank you. Cheng's (Anna the Bookbinder, p. 302, etc.) story of intergenerational connection is a sweet one. Ni Ni speaks just haltingly enough to let readers know English is not her first language, and Nancy only completes her small fishpond with an adult's help. First time illustrator Chang's art is less spot-on. Ni Ni often appears out of proportion. The goldfish on the cover do not match those in the story, and the flowers never resemble the chrysanthemums of the title. The cover has an almost golden glow to it that is absent in the grayish interior illustrations. The story might have been better served with pictures rendered in a lighter medium than oils, but this is still a good choice for older storytime audiences or collections in need of culturally different stories. (Picture book. 4-9)Read full book review >