Monday, June 28, 2021

Review: Geraldine Pu and Her Lunch Box, Too! by Maggie P. Chang

 Before this month draws to a close, I'm going to throw in two more graphic novels. Today's review is over one for beginning readers. I was thrilled to see this one because my own daughter tended to pick up graphic novels quicker than traditional books in elementary school. I have no doubt that she would have grabbed this one at the time, too. Plus, there are tons of extras.

But I'm going to stop babbling about it and let you take a look yourself.

by Maggie P. Chang
Simon Spotlight
Chapter Book (Graphic Novel)
64 pages
ages 6 to 10

JUNE 29th!!!

Meet spunky, funny, and friendly Geraldine Pu as she takes on a bully and makes a new friend in this first book in a new Level 3 Ready-to-Read Graphics series!

Geraldine Pu’s favorite part of school is lunch. She loves her lunch box, which she calls Biandang. She can’t wait to see what her grandmother, Amah, has packed inside it each day. Then one day, Geraldine gets stinky tofu...and an unexpected surprise. What will she do?

Ready-to-Read Graphics books give readers the perfect introduction to the graphic novel format with easy-to-follow panels, speech bubbles with accessible vocabulary, and sequential storytelling that is spot-on for beginning readers. There’s even a how-to guide for reading graphic novels at the beginning of each book.

GOODREADS   /     BOOK DEPOSITORY    /     B&N    /     AMAZON


                                      * beginner reader friendly
                                      * graphic novel (with explanation on how to read one)
                                      * glossary
                                      * explanation on culture and such
                                      * recipe at the end


Graphic novels tend to be a favorite among young readers, and this one adds on so much more, too.

Geraldine Pu lives in the US but has family which originated in Taiwan and does speak three languages (English, Mandarin and Taiwanese). Her Amah packs curry rice and other yummy food in her Biandang (lunchbox) every day for school, which Geraldine loves. That is, until a boy at school complains how yucky it looks. His teasing catches on with the other kids and soon, Geraldine is ashamed to bring her food to school.

There are so many lovely things about this book. First, it's a graphic novel...a simple one...and just right for readers, who have begun to read and are slowly gaining comfort with their words. Second, the book has a glossary and explains several terms and words the reader might not know or understand. This includes words used in Geraldine's family, which originate from Taiwan like Amah and Bao. The pronunciation for these words is given along with a description in the glossary. Then, there's an quick introduction on how to read a graphic novel for those not familiar with the form. Add a few more cultural descriptions at the end of the book (which are written for adults to explain to readers) and a recipe for bao, and it's a packed few pages.

The story itself is something many kids can relate to. If not teased for their food, most readers have been teased or seen someone teased for something. The message in this one is clear and still flows right along with the tale. The friendly relationship between Geraldine and her lunchbox did make me wonder at first, but it works really well and doesn't come across as quirky as I thought it might. (Readers might wish they had a friend as a lunchbox themselves). The introduction of 'new' types of foods, which the reader might not yet know, also grabbed the interest of even my older readers. 

This is a fun book with so much more and great for beginner readers.

And here she is...

Maggie P. Chang grew up in Kansas, where she constantly had her nose in a book and art supplies close by. She began her career in art education, but after teaching the most fabulous and talented teens at LaGuardia Arts High School (a.k.a. the Fame school), she was inspired to follow her own passion for children’s books. This Taiwanese American is the author-illustrator of the Geraldine Pu series and is also the cofounder of two education nonprofits. Maggie lives in California with her husband, their daughter, and their dog, Benihana.

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