Goldfish and Chrysanthemums

By Center for Children's Books

(Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books) Nancy’s Grandma Ni Ni receives a letter from her brother in China explaining that the city is tearing down their father’s old house to make way for a new apartment building. Ni Ni shows Nancy and her brother photographs, sharing her fond memories of her old garden: ‘Ba Ba had a fishpond in the middle… All day I follow him, help him pinch the buds and feed the fish.’ It is clear to Nancy that Ni Ni mourns the loss of her father’s house and garden, and later that day at the schoolyard fair she wins a cheer-up present for her grandmother - two goldfish. Nancy decides to dig a goldfish pond under the backyard honeysuckle bush, and, with the help of her brother and their neighbor, Mrs. Zalinsky, she does just that. A delighted Ni Ni christens the pond ‘Ba Ba’s Garden in America,’ and they take pictures to send to China. The story is warmhearted… the obvious affection among the various family members make Nancy’s efforts both touching and credible, and the not-so-far-fetched conclusion is quietly but solidly satisfying.