Books by Kam Mak

MY CHINATOWN by Kam Mak
CHILDREN'S
Released: Dec. 1, 2001

Fifteen untitled poems, handsomely illustrated with photo-realistic paintings, express the feelings of a young Chinese boy from Hong Kong as he adjusts to his new home in New York's Chinatown. Grouped by the four seasons, the poems span the time from one Chinese New Year to the next. The simplicity of language and beautiful paintings evoke poignant imagery; phrasing like " . . . school where English words taste like metal in my mouth" or a scene where an overhead perspective captures the boy and a girl playing chess on the floor with a cat pawing a marker, framing a tender moment. Even though the reader may not know firsthand all of the specific references—Tic-Tac-Toe-playing chicken, sidewalk cobbler, red confetti on streets from firecrackers—what comes through clearly is the boy's gradual acceptance of his new home place where daily pleasures can be enjoyed without relinquishing memories of the past. (In a different style, William Low celebrates Chinatown [1997] with darkly hued, soft-edged oil paintings depicting a boy and his grandmother walking through the streets. The two could pair nicely.) The first-person voice and strong composition of art with vivid colors symbiotically make this boy's personal emotional journey a universal experience. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)Read full book review >
THE DRAGON PRINCE by Laurence Yep
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 30, 1997

The subtitle says all: A dragon ambushes a poor farmer and promises to eat the unfortunate man unless one of the farmer's seven daughters marries him. Six daughters run away in fear, but Seven can't bear to see her father suffer and consents to marry the dragon. Seven is not afraid of the dragon; she finds him beautiful and tells him so. At that the dragon transforms into a handsome prince and the two are very happy together until Seven begins to grow homesick. During a visit to her family, her real troubles begin—one of her sisters is jealous of Seven's match. She gets rid of Seven and returns to the prince in her sister's place, but the prince's heart is not fooled. Yep tells the tale with colorful descriptions and repeated refrains, while Mak's splendid, realistic paintings, in dark jewel tones bordered with white, extend the text elegantly—the scene of the dragon flying over Chinese tile roofs is especially beautiful. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8) Read full book review >