Brandon Goes to Beijing by Eugenia Chu

Brandon Goes to Beijing by Eugenia Chu
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Childrens, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (64 pages)
Age Recommendation: 8+
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Brandon and his cousins are on a trip to visit their grandparents in Beijing, China! While bonding with family, practicing Chinese, touring historic sites and feasting on local dishes, Brandon thinks he sees a tiny panda. However, every time he gets close, the panda disappears! Is Brandon imagining this small creature, or is it real? Will Brandon find out before he has to fly back home?Brandon Goes to Beijing (北京) is a multicultural, multigenerational chapter book which includes some Mandarin Chinese (Simplified) with Pinyin pronunciation, adding layers for those learning or interested in the Chinese language and culture.

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Brandon and his family visited so many well-known parts of China during their trip. It was fun to see what he and his cousins thought of all of the famous places they saw as well as the delicious meals they got to eat. There was a nice balance between learning a little bit of Chinese history, visiting memorable spots, and eating tasty food. It sounded like the sort of vacation any kid or adult would appreciate!

I would have liked to see more foreshadowing included in this book. There were a couple of plot twists that came up out of nowhere in my opinion. Since they were connected to the mystery subplot, it would have been helpful to have a hint or two about what was happening there so that I could have had better luck figuring out if my guesses about how everything would turn out were actually close to the truth.

With that being said, I did enjoy the mystery elements of the plot quite a bit. Was it really a small panda that Brandon saw at the beginning of his trip? I smiled at his answer to that question and waited patiently to see if his guess was the correct one. This was a nice way to add a little friendly tension to a vacation that was otherwise going exactly the way everyone thought it would.

I’d recommend Brandon Goes to Beijing to anyone who enjoys traveling or learning about other countries.

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