New Voices Award Winner; Best Books of the Year, Honorable Mention; Choices
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In this sweet, slice-of-life story, a curious and active Asian American girl spends the day learning tai chi from her grandfather, and in turn tries to teach him how to do yoga.
Mei Mei's grandpa is practicing tai chi in the garden, and Mei Mei is eager to join in. As Gong Gong tries to teach her the slow, graceful movements, Mei Mei enthusiastically does them with her own flair. Then Mei Mei takes a turn, trying to teach Gong Gong the yoga positions she learned in school. Will Gong Gong be able to master the stretchy, bendy poses? Winner of Lee & Low's New Voices Award, A Morning with Grandpa celebrates, with lively spirit and humor, the special bond between grandparent and grandchild and the joy of learning new things together. Readers of all ages will want to try some tai chi and yoga too!
PreS-Gr 2—A bright and cheery girl and her grandfather spend a morning teaching each other tai chi and yoga in this sweet, intergenerational picture book. Mei Mei, an adorable girl with pigtails and flair, is curious about the slow dancing that Gong Gong does. She is determined to replicate his actions but instead bursts with energy, creating her own bouncing movements. Mei Mei decides to teach Gong Gong the yoga poses that she learned in school, but his elderly body cannot twist and turn as agilely as hers. In the end, they each assure the other that their movements are "perfect," sending a sweet message that it is the process and the practice that are important. Digitally rendered illustrations place Mei Mei and Gong Gong in a lush backyard garden filled with sunflowers, red maple leaves, and dragonflies. While the background images are repetitive, the focus of the illustrations is on the intergenerational pair. Mei Mei's face expresses a full range of emotions, while Gong Gong's is somewhat one-note. The text is brimming with similes and metaphors describing their movements, and the words follow the actions, with the letters in words such as arched and stretched curving and bending on the page. Descriptions of the movements do not overwhelm the story, and a full set of instructions for the poses, as well as discussions of the practices, are included as back matter. VERDICT This selection stands out from other yoga picture books for its introduction to tai chi and will circulate well in collections where there is an interest in movement, health, and fitness activities.—Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Copyright 2016 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
In a charming outing from newcomer Liu, which won the publisher's 2013 New Voices Award, a girl named Mei Mei gets a backyard tai chi lesson from her grandfather. Gong Gong's movements are graceful and calm, but Mei Mei has a more raucous approach: during the "Play the Lute" pose, Gong Gong is "a musician serenading the sunflowers. Mei Mei a rock star playing guitar for the daisies." Then Mei Mei steps into the teaching role, walking Gong Gong through a few yoga poses. Forshay's polished digital art lends both characters distinctive and contrasting personalities. Closing instructions highlight the tai chi and yoga poses discussed, but the book's sweetness stems from the thoughtful gentleness with which Gong Gong guides Mei Mei, never restraining her natural exuberance. Ages 5-8. Illustrator's agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (May)Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.