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My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder

by Nie Jun

Book list *Starred Review* When young Yu'er laments, People think I'm different, her grandfather's immediate response, Oh, who cares what they think! sets her free to be just that and more. She's different because she's physically challenged, but Grampa ensures her mobility via push cart, wooden chair on wheels, or even his back. Buoyed by Grampa's playfully devoted support, Yu'er's adventures are magically empowering. Four such endeavors are included here: swimming without water in hopeful preparation for the Special Olympics in Yu'er's Dream, visiting Bug Paradise with a protective new friend, sending The Letter from the present to the past, and nurturing artistic expression with the neighborhood grouch in Kids at Heart. Yu'er and Grampa make ideal guides to their Beijing hutong, a traditional neighborhood of courtyard houses and alleyways. Gauvin's buoyantly translated speech bubbles exude youthful excitement and energy, and the occasional asterisks lead to explanations of, for instance, how Yu'er's name translates to fish girl and the literary significance of the Ming Dynasty classic, Journey to the West. Presented in sumptuous full color, Jun's exquisite graphics from perfect realism (a cancelled stamp) to comical specificity (Grampa's exaggerated backside) to the natural simplicity of Yu'er's own drawings offer nonstop merriment and whimsical delight.--Terry Hong Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 2-4-Four slice-of-life stories about a young girl and her grandfather in a hutong neighborhood of Beijing make up this quiet graphic novel. In the first, Yu'er, who has limited use of one of her legs, dreams of swimming in the Special Olympics, but none of the pools will let her in to train, so her grandfather devises a way to swim without water. The middle two tales are steeped in magical realism. In one, Yu'er meets a boy who protects her from bullies and takes her to a one-of-a-kind concert. In the other, hearing about her grandparents' courtship leads Yu'er to write a magical letter. In the final entry, Yu'er studies painting with a grumpy neighbor who laments his inability to act on his dreams when he was younger. Delicate full-color watercolors add to the gentle, dreamy atmosphere of the neighborhood as Yu'er, her friends, and readers discover the simple magic and wonder in everyday life. The translation occasionally hits an odd note but does not distract from the warm tone. VERDICT Recommended for most graphic novel collections.-Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.