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Dream Soul Hardcover – August 22, 2000
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-8-As the eldest child of stern Chinese immigrant parents, 15-year-old Joanie Lee is held strictly accountable for her high-spirited younger siblings. Expected to master her American school lessons and assist in the family's laborious post-World War I laundry, Joanie finds that her life brightens when their landlady wrings a promise to celebrate Christmas from the reluctant Mr. Lee, who adds the provision that the children must be perfect during the remaining weeks, a seemingly impossible task. Recent arrivals, the aristocratic Victoria Barrington and her charming father, provide some fun and friendship. Problems arise, however, when long workdays and the cold West Virginia winter make the scholarly Mr. Lee seriously ill. Facing the crisis with what she once passively rejected, Joanie fuses the wisdom of Chinese folklore with her own American grit to find her way. Details of landscape, climate, and period are quite evocative. Major characters are fully developed. Even the minor figures are interesting. Joanie's evolution in understanding the strength, love, and culture with which her parents have always graced her is warming. Although the cultural contrasts between East and West are reminiscent of Linda Crew's Children of the River (Laurel Leaf, 1991), Yep's lovingly crafted offering is for younger readers and has its own wonderful perspective.
Cindy Darling Codell, Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Gr. 5-8. In this sequel to Star Fisher (1991), Yep continues the story of the Chinese American Lee family in Clarksburg, West Virginia. In December 1927, Joan, Emily, and Bobby ache to celebrate Christmas with their landlord neighbor Miss Lucy, and their parents reluctantly concede. However, when they disobey and embarrass their father, he cancels their celebration. Joan admires her friend Victoria's doting dad, and is upset with her father's strict Chinese ways, until he becomes seriously ill. Recalling one of his stories, Joan sets out to bring her father's "dream soul" back to his body. The Lees' first Christmas celebration, though secular, radiates the warmth and spirit of the season in a jubilant conclusion. As Joan grows to understand and appreciate her father's old-world expressions of love, her observations and insights sound remarkably mature. Her constant awareness of being different and yearning to be "American," on the other hand, ring painfully true, and will leave readers awaiting a third installment. Linda Perkins
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