We actually received a copy of ‘Grandma and the Things that Stay the Same’ just before Chinese New Year, which was perfect timing, since the book highlights Grandma’s habits during CNY. Apart from asking the same old questions every year, Grandma likes to wear the same “lucky” colours, and cook the same “lucky” food, and I think older children (and even adults) will find all these rather familiar.
I personally get annoyed when people ask me the same question every year, or even each time we meet, especially when we were trying to conceive. The dreaded “When are you having kids?” question is probably the bane of every childless couple’s existence, and I could identify with the glum expression on the parents’ faces when Grandma asked, “When are you going to have another baby?” over and over again.
I also didn’t like how Grandma would ask the protagonist, “Are you number 1 in class?” each year, as I felt that a more sensitive child would be quite easily affected, thinking that her self-worth is tied to her results in school. Thankfully, at the end of the story, Grandma redeems herself by assuring the little girl that she loves her just the same, regardless of her ranking in class. I think that was probably one of the most important lines in the book, because it underlines Grandma’s unconditional love, and her clumsy way of expressing it. I guess many people, especially those of the older generation, don’t really know how to connect with the younger people, and end up asking the same question over and over again, for lack of better conversation topics.
It was also a nice touch for Mum to tell her young daughter that she’s lucky, because it is this very sameness in her ever-changing environment that forms the foundation of her family. “Because even with so many things changing with you… you can count on some things like love, family and tradition to stay the same.”
Grandma and the Things that Stay the Same
This book has very little text, yet manages to convey its message clearly. It’s a good read during the build-up to Chinese New Year, though it doesn’t really matter when you read the book, because I’m pretty sure that Grandma’s repeated questions can occur at any time during the year. Noah enjoyed looking at the cute and colourful illustrations, and laughed when he saw the animals being punished in school. He did ask me why the Grandma, Daddy, Mummy, and children were all different animals, and I was truly stumped, so please let me know if you can think of a good explanation!
Buy the Book
Grandma and the Things that Stay the Same on Epigram Books
Check out the previous Friday Flips posts HERE. I’ve also created a photo album on Facebook with some other good reads, and will be updating it whenever I come across more books that we enjoy. Do pop by for a look HERE.