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Naomi Lau
Author, Illustrator
Winter Melon Story
Naomi Lau, author
Two friends Sammy and Davey spend the summer days with Sammy’s grandma, Poh Poh in Minnesota. They visit Poh Poh’s garden every day, eager to pick the winter melon and help Poh Poh make her special winter melon soup. When the melon is nearly ripe for harvest, Sammy decides to follow her own plan, where both children discover one of Poh Poh’s most important ingredients for winter melon soup.
In a quiet story about patience, Sammy, a child with a chin-length bob and a gentle smile, visits her grandmother (“Poh Poh”) in Minnesota. It’s summer, and Sammy loves helping Poh Poh to garden and cook. When her friend Davey comes over to play, it’s an opportunity to learn about growing things: a small, cucumberlike vegetable grows from a leafy vine. It’s a “winter melon. In Chinese, it’s called dong-gua,” Sammy explains. In China, where Poh Poh lived, she would grow them in the summer and enjoy them in a wintertime stew. After waiting all season for it to grow, the children decide to pick it one day early. When the melon accidentally rolls down the stairs and breaks open, Poh Poh has a surprise in store—one that leads the three to cook together. Lau’s spare illustrations render the characters simply and mark the passage of time with the visit of a small bird, two rabbits, and falling autumn leaves around the winter melon. A sweet multicultural story that suggests that the best things in life are worth a wait. Ages 3–7. (BookLife)