This book gives an overview of one family’s time in Shanghai, China, when there was a war going on. The Great Depression was in full gear, and China was beginning to be affected by it. The story follows a boy (the author) and his family as they try and live a good, safe, and healthy life through all the turmoil of the time. The father, Baba, was an engineer, and struck a deal with a landowner to create and build a large house with a pool. The story follows the author and his family through the seasons, sharing little stories here and there about their life. In one story, the author and his brothers trained crickets to fight. In another story, the author’s sisters steals seconds of dinner and blames her brother. It is a beautiful story of the little moments in life that we tend to forget.
I would not recommend this book for children, mostly because I can see them losing interest quickly. The pictures aren’t bright or colorful, they’re more artistic and remind me of a collage. While the stories are very sweet and fun to listen to, the book itself is rather long. I would recommend this for older readers though, and even adults, as it is a beautiful story to read.