Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village / by Fang Suzhen. 6.14.2016

NorthSouth Books Inc. ISBN 9780735842168

PRI PS-Grade 3 Rating: 5

Grandma Lives in a Perfume Village is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book translated from Chinese to English by Huang Xiumin. The book focuses on a little boy named Xiao Le, and the pronunciation and meaning of his name is provided at the beginning of this touching story.

Xiao Le and his mother go on a trip to visit his maternal grandmother. When they arrive, they find out Grandma is sick. Once Xiao Le is over his initial shyness, he shares a few special moments with his grandmother. After Xiao Le and his mother return home, they never see Grandma again because she is in heaven. Xiao Le helps his mother deal with her grief in an unexpected and special way.

The interest of young children will be captured by the simple, straightforward language of the text along with the exquisitely detailed and vibrant illustrations of the Asian family, the interior decor, and the landscape. The author, Fang Suzhen, and the illustrator, Sonja Danowski, have provided young children with a heartfelt and engaging book that not only wonderfully shows the power of family bonds but also superbly and realistically portrays the sensitive subject of loss and grief. The book paints a comforting picture of the death of a beloved family member in a way that a young child can understand.

Dianne Woodman, CLJ