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Beijing Bound

by Neela Eyunni

Pub Date: June 23rd, 2014
ISBN: 978-1482335521
Publisher: CreateSpace

A simple travelogue that touches on the tastes and sights of Beijing through the eyes of an excited little traveler from Minnesota.
In this straightforward, travel-themed children’s picture book, a girl named Cee Cee dreams of seeing the world and chronicling her adventures with her camera. She’s delighted to arrive home from school and find that the whole family will be visiting Beijing. (It’s Cee Cee’s first experience with traveling by plane, but the author doesn’t dwell on the 16-hour flight.) The family is greeted at the Beijing airport by Cee Cee’s uncle Phil, who will be the family’s guide during their two-night stay. First up, handmade noodles made to order at Uncle Phil’s favorite restaurant. Then, after a long drive into the mountains, a visit to the Great Wall of China, where an enthusiastic tour guide offers some history about the structure’s origins and dimensions. Author Eyunni, an American journalist living in China, throws in a welcome bit of suspense when camera-toting Cee Cee wanders “in search of the perfect shot” and loses sight of her family: “Tears began to well up in her eyes. All of a sudden she felt very small and very alone.” A kind, elderly man offers comfort and soon spots the bright red hats Cee Cee’s parents are wearing. Adventures the following day include a visit to a market with hundreds of colorful stalls, watching tai chi practitioners in a park, rolling dough for dumplings, learning to use chopsticks, and Cee Cee’s exchanging email addresses with a new friend her own age. The author ends with a hint that a series awaits: “Cee Cee would never forget Beijing, but she knew in her heart that another adventure was just around the corner.” In the minus column: the generic computer-generated look of the uncredited illustrations. Richer visual content would enhance the book’s clean prose and easy educational content.
A pleasant, lightly informative tale that needs a visual upgrade.