GRANDFATHER COUNTS by Andrea Cheng

GRANDFATHER COUNTS

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 6

KIRKUS REVIEW

Cheng’s story of a Chinese-speaking grandfather who comes to live with his daughter’s English-speaking family ably communicates the difficulties of the language barrier, and the unanticipated joys that come from working your way through that barrier. Helen is ambivalent about the arrival of her grandfather, Gong Gong, from China. She wants to know her grandfather, but she has had to surrender her room and her cherished view of the train tracks to him. Worst of all, he doesn’t understand what she says, and as she doesn’t understand him, he withdraws. Her mother says to give him some space and time. One day while Helen is sitting on the back wall, Gong Gong joins her, and together they count the train cars as the freight rumbles past. Contact. Helen learns the first eight numbers in Chinese and Gong Gong learns them in English. From there it is a short leap to Helen’s Chinese name and its Chinese characters, and then the letters used to spell Helen. That every journey starts with a first step is a commonplace conceit, but here the notion fits so snugly the point practically sings, and it feels like an adventurous beginning at that. Lushly colored artwork from Zhang is both elegant and captures the moods of tentativeness, surprise, and satisfaction. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 1-58430-010-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Lee & Low
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2000




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