Books by Laurence Yep

CITY OF DEATH by Laurence Yep
Released: Feb. 5, 2013

"A tongue-in-cheek ramble with frequent opportunities for derring-do and a multitude of supernatural entities more colorful than dangerous. (afterword) (Fantasy. 10-12)"
The world turns out to need saving from more than just one menace in this conclusion to Yep's teeming and polymythical fantasy/alternate history/quest/rescue/coming-of-age epic. Read full book review >
DRAGONS OF SILK by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: Sept. 13, 2011

"An interesting glimpse into a little-known aspect of Chinese history and culture and a fitting conclusion to an epic series that began in 1975 with the Newbery Honor–winning Dragonwings. (Historical fiction. 10 & up)"
Silk, an ancient legend and family history tie several generations of formidable females together over three centuries in this conclusion to Yep's monumental Golden Mountain Chronicles. Read full book review >
THE STAR MAKER by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2011

"Reminiscent of Tomie dePaola's 26 Fairmount Avenue books, this brief tale tenderly portrays a large, loving extended family and presents a rich multicultural theme and an engaging plot for middle-to-upper–elementary readers. (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
In the way that young children often do, when pressed by his bullying older cousin Petey 8-year-old Artie boasts that he'll provide the whole family with firecrackers for the upcoming Chinese New Year. Read full book review >
CITY OF FIRE by Laurence Yep
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

"The author's consistent habit of freezing attacks for exchanges of threats or banter turns most of the action scenes into leisurely set pieces, but such scenes follow one another in quick succession in this plot-driven tale, and the cast is as engaging as it is diverse. (Fantasy. 10-12)"
Set in an alternate 1941 in which there's no world war and humans share the world with hordes of imps, trolls, shapechangers, gods and every other type of creature that Yep can conjure from world mythology, this opener to a planned City Trilogy pits a squad of unlikely allies against bad guys with a shadowy but ominous agenda. Read full book review >
AUNTIE TIGER by Laurence Yep
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 1, 2009

"The award-winning author's style adapts well to the brevity and pace of a traditional story, and this humorous take could well be a lead-in to the darker and far more intriguing Lon Po Po. (Picture book/folktale. 5-8)"
After telling her squabbling daughters not to let in strangers, Mother goes to the village, but what should appear but a smiling, kerchief-clad tiger pretending to be "Auntie"? Read full book review >
DRAGON ROAD by Laurence Yep
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

Yep adds to his ongoing Golden Mountain Chronicles with this absorbing tale of a basketball team that leaves San Francisco's Chinatown to barnstorm across California and the West in 1939. Read full book review >
THE DRAGON’S CHILD by Laurence Yep
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 2008

"Fiction based on facts and the authors' smooth narration vividly evoke the past and its inhabitants. (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
Historian Kathleen S. Yep teams with her uncle Laurence to craft a compelling tale based on transcripts of his father's 1922 immigration interview. Read full book review >
TIGER MAGIC by Laurence Yep
FANTASY
Released: Oct. 17, 2006

"A nice choice for sensitive readers. (Fantasy. 9-12)"
Returning to the charm of the first installment, Yep finishes Tom's tale with more sweetness than adrenaline. Read full book review >
Released: April 4, 2006

"It is notable especially for the attention paid to the experience of San Francisco's Chinese immigrants, and a good choice for reluctant readers. (Historical fiction. 8-12)"
Eight-year-old Henry Travis and nine-year-old Chin, son of the family houseboy, experience the events of the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 that destroyed both the Travis's wealthy home and the Chin's tenement apartment. Read full book review >
TIGER’S BLOOD by Laurence Yep
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Jan. 1, 2005

"The third entry promises a huge battle, with Tom becoming more of a tiger; this one on its own is static. (Fantasy. 9-12)"
Offering less action than its predecessor, this middle episode in a creative yet gentle series is so calm it feels diluted. Mr. Hu—a tiger guarding the phoenix egg from evildoers—shared his soul with Tom at the end of Book One, but Tom's shift towards tigerness is slow. Read full book review >
SKUNK SCOUT by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: June 1, 2003

"A minor effort from Yep. (Fiction. 8-12)"
To ten-year-old Teddy, camping can take a hike, as it were, especially when he has to go with his science whiz, know-it-all younger brother Bobby and bumbling Uncle Curtis. Read full book review >
THE TIGER’S APPRENTICE by Laurence Yep
FANTASY
Released: April 1, 2003

"Near the end, Mr. Hu shares his soul to save Tom's life; what Tom will be like as part tiger, and what the monsters will try next to procure the object, must wait for the second entry in this simultaneously gentle and suspenseful series. (Fiction. 9-12)"
This colorful fantasy seamlessly weaves ancient Chinese mythology into the contemporary city of San Francisco. Read full book review >
THE TRAITOR by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: March 1, 2003

"Essential reading for all students of America's complex history and culture. (Fiction. 11-13)"
Yep lays down another course of his now monumental, seven-generation family chronicle begun in Dragonwings (1975) with this tale of two Wyoming Territory outsiders—one an illegitimate white child, the other a US-born son of a Chinese coal miner—who witness the Rock Springs massacre, one of the most savage race riots in our history. Read full book review >
WHEN THE CIRCUS CAME TO TOWN by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: Dec. 1, 2001

"The simple plot uses perfectly believable characterizations to discuss deceptively complex emotions and issues for those who would mine its lessons, but Ursula's own story of healing is rewarding enough for those who read from the younger child's point of view. (Fiction. 8-10)"
A story taken from real life provides the foundation for a tale of healing through human interconnection. Read full book review >
ANGELFISH by Laurence Yep
ANIMALS
Released: June 1, 2001

"Middle-graders could do much worse. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Robin, a half-Chinese, half-European ballet student, gets a lesson in modern Chinese history from a victim of the Cultural Revolution. Read full book review >
DREAM SOUL by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: Sept. 30, 2000

"Despite Yep's distracting use of italics for spoken English, this is a smooth, tightly woven, and thoroughly satisfying story. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Yep (Cockroach Cooties, p. 394, etc.) draws from his own family history to create an intriguing story, again utilizing narrative to explore conflicting cultures. Read full book review >
THE MAGIC PAINTBRUSH by Laurence Yep
THE AMAH by Laurence Yep
Released: June 1, 1999

"It's formulaic, but not entirely superficial. (Fiction. 10-13)"
Revisiting characters from The Cook's Family (1998), Yep again explores personal and cultural conflicts arising between the generations in a Chinese-American family. Read full book review >
THE COOK'S FAMILY by Laurence Yep
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Feb. 23, 1998

"Yep sensitively explores the complexities of immigrant culture from several points of view, creates an appealing, diverse cast, and gives his plot both a memorable premise (drawn, as he explains in an afterword, from actual incidents) and a strong, bittersweet ending. (Fiction. 10-13)"
In a poignant sequel to Ribbons (1996), two strangers comfort a lonely old man with a shared, ongoing fantasy. Read full book review >
THE IMP THAT ATE MY HOMEWORK by Laurence Yep
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 31, 1998

"Still, readers will not be able to put this light, funny fantasy down. (Fiction. 9-11)"
It sounds like a flimsy excuse, but for young Jim it's literally true: An imp really does eat his homework, as well as gets him into further trouble with his mother, his father, and his teacher in Chinese school. Read full book review >
THE DRAGON PRINCE by Laurence Yep
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 30, 1997

"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)"
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. Read full book review >
THE CASE OF THE GOBLIN PEARLS by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: March 31, 1997

"Though the plot is built around coincidence, the lively characters and a well-drawn setting rescue it; presumably the many dangling threads will be sewn into future episodes. (Fiction. 10-12)"
Yep (The Khan's Daughter, p. 68, etc.) launches the Chinatown Mystery series, set in modern San Francisco's Chinatown. Read full book review >
THE KHAN'S DAUGHTER by Laurence Yep
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: March 1, 1997

"The jacket art is especially striking: A montage of acrylic on gold leaf shows Borte in a bejeweled headdress, Mîngke astride his sturdy pony at full gallop, and the wind-whipped banners and embroidered felt tents of the Khan's realm. (Picture book/folklore. 7-10)"
Yep (The Boy Who Swallowed Snakes, 1994, etc.) extends his series of picture-book retellings of Asian folktales with this Mongolian story of a poor young shepherd who wins the hand of the Khan's daughter through dumb luck and the smitten maiden's collusion. Read full book review >
RIBBONS by Laurence Yep
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 19, 1996

"642, etc.) creates an elegant tale of love and understanding with an upbeat resolution that will please the most demanding readers. (Fiction. 10-14)"
Her demanding ballet teacher believes that Robin Lee has real talent, but it's unlikely that she'll be able to develop it soon. Read full book review >
LATER, GATOR by Laurence Yep
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 8, 1995

"An entertaining ending is marred by an afterword expounding the villainy of mistreating pets, but this remains an interesting slice-of-life portrait based in San Francisco's Chinatown. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Teddy's younger brother, Bobby, is kind, helpful, and loving; Teddy therefore does what he must to make Bobby's life miserable. Read full book review >
HIROSHIMA by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: May 1, 1995

"As 1995 will mark 50 years since the bomb was dropped, new materials are needed to join Eleanor Coerr's Sadako and the Paper Cranes (1977) and Toshi Maruki's horrifying Hiroshima No Pika (1980); this offering is unlikely to lead the pack. (Fiction. 10- 13)"
Though deeply felt, a choppy, confusing account of Hiroshima's destruction that reads like a set of preliminary notes. Read full book review >
THE JUNIOR THUNDER LORD by Laurence Yep
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Oct. 20, 1994

"Van Nutt's wild paintings, breathless compositions that bring an alien landscape to life, give a welcome sense of humor to this moral tale. (Folklore/Picture book. All ages)"
A three-year drought is upon the land. Read full book review >
THE BOY WHO SWALLOWED SNAKES by Laurence Yep
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Feb. 1, 1994

"The Tsengs' watercolors range from exotically colorful to murkily mysterious, with the characters' expressions and poses dramatically exaggerated. (Picture book. 6-9)"
Puzzlingly described as an "original folktale" (LC classifies it in 398.2), the bizarre story of Little Chou, a poor Chinese boy who finds, hidden in a basket of silver, an evil ku snake that kills people and takes their money to its master. Read full book review >
THE GHOST FOX by Laurence Yep
ANIMALS
Released: Jan. 1, 1994

"The Tsengs' pen-and-ink illustrations evocatively capture 17th-century Chinese dress and architecture, while Yep's narrative depicts the dauntless triumph of good over evil with eerie grace and humor. (Folktale. 7+)"
Familial relationships are exquisitely rendered in this supernatural story drawn from a 17th-century collection by Chinese scholar Pu Sung-ling. Read full book review >
DRAGON'S GATE by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: Oct. 30, 1993

"Explanatory note; reading list. (Fiction. 11-14)"
Yep illuminates the Chinese immigrant experience here and abroad in a follow-up to The Serpent's Children (1984) and Mountain Light (1985). Read full book review >
THE BUTTERFLY BOY by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: Sept. 20, 1993

"Not easy or entirely successful but, still, a philosophic tale with worthy and venerable roots, certainly worthy of discussion. (Picture book. 5-9)"
"Drawn from the writings of Chuang Tzu [fourth century B.C.],...the Butterfly Philosopher," a tale that explicates the idea that wisdom may lie in an altogether fresh point of view. Read full book review >
THE MAN WHO TRICKED A GHOST by Laurence Yep
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"A winner. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-10)"
Sung is a man so brave that he thinks nothing of walking home at night, despite his friend's warning. Read full book review >
THE SHELL WOMAN AND THE KING by Laurence Yep
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

"An unusual touch is the subtle, gray damask patterning providing a textured background for the type. (Folklore/Picture book. 5-9)"
A beautiful woman with the power to transform herself into a seashell outwits the evil king who commands her to abandon her husband and marry him instead. Read full book review >
AMERICAN DRAGONS by Laurence Yep
NONFICTION
Released: June 30, 1993

"An afterword and brief bibliography suggest readings in Asian-American history and literature plus materials with guidelines for evaluating stories about Asian- American children. (Anthology. YA+)"
A much-needed (if uneven) collection of stories and poems plus an excerpt from a one-man show, developed while Yep taught in Asian-American studies at the University of California. Read full book review >
DRAGON WAR by Laurence Yep
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: May 30, 1992

"Not for every reader, but destined to be a special favorite for a few. (Fiction. 10+)"
Fourth (and last?) in the saga of dragon princess Shimmer's struggle to restore her lost home: At the end of Dragon Cauldron (1991), Shimmer, the Monkey wizard, and human child Indigo were captured by the evil Boneless King, while selfless human Thorn became part of the Cauldron so that it could restore Shimmer's Inland Sea. Read full book review >
TONGUES OF JADE by Laurence Yep
Kirkus Star
adapted by Laurence Yep, illustrated by David Wiesner
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Oct. 30, 1991

"Once again, as entertainment and enrichment, a bravura accomplishment. (Folklore. 8-12)"
An award-winning author presents a second gathering of folktales as remembered by Chinese immigrants to California. Read full book review >
THE STAR FISHER by Laurence Yep
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 20, 1991

"A likable, thoughtful story about a young woman learning to value her own differences. (Fiction. 9-14)"
The author of Dragonwings (Newbery Honor, 1976) draws on his mother's childhood to depict a Chinese family's experiences when they arrive from Ohio to open a West Virginia laundry in 1927. Read full book review >
THE LOST GARDEN by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: May 1, 1991

"A detailed, absorbing picture of Chinese-American culture in the 50's and 60's, of particular interest to Yep's many admirers or would-be writers. (Autobiography. 11-15)"
In a strong debut for the new "In My Own Words" series, the author of The Star Fisher (see below) portrays his own youth. Read full book review >
DRAGON CAULDRON by Laurence Yep
FANTASY
Released: April 30, 1991

"More to come. (Fiction. 10+)"
The further adventures of dragon Princess Shimmer (Dragon of the Lost Sea, 1982; Dragon Steel, 1985), who is still attempting to restore her lost home. Read full book review >
THE RAINBOW PEOPLE by David Wiesner
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: May 15, 1989

"A handsomely designed collection—Wiesner's understated b&w chapter openers are beautifully composed, counterpointing rather than competing with the stories."
Here, the author of such sensitive depictions of the Chinese-American experience as Dragonwings anthologizes 20 folk tales told by Chinese immigrants in California. Read full book review >
CURSE OF THE SQUIRREL by Laurence Yep
ANIMALS
Released: Nov. 12, 1987

"This is neither as scary nor as funny as it sets out to be, and its short sentences result in an annoyingly choppy style."
Another in the new Stepping Stone series: a disappointing contribution from a noted chronicler, for older children, of the Chinese. Read full book review >
MONSTER MAKERS, INC. by Laurence Yep
SCIENCE FICTION
Released: Nov. 17, 1986

"The teen-age leads are believable enough, though Dad is a cypher, and their rocky romance is well-handled: sprightly and often amusing, then, but one-dimensional—so put this one on the YA shelf."
Put-upon teen-age hero wins heart of spoiled rich girl while saving planet from comic-evil alien invaders. Read full book review >
DRAGON STEEL by Laurence Yep
FANTASY
Released: April 10, 1985

Yep's Dragon of the Lost Sea (1982) ended with comrades Shimmer (a dragon princess) and Thorn (a boy) capturing the witch Civet, who had displaced Shimmer's clan by draining their Inland Sea. Read full book review >
THE TOM SAWYER FIRES by Laurence Yep
Released: Oct. 15, 1984

"But this less elaborate sequel is another bright, quick, folksy adventure—at its best in the period touches, especially the firefighting details."
Who's the arsonist on the loose in Civil War-era San Francisco? Read full book review >
LIAR, LIAR by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: Sept. 14, 1983

"The story ends with Seen home alone, Russ breaking in with an icepick, and the two engaging in an extended battle that will keep readers on edge through a profusion of rounds and reversals."
A proficient suspense story with a contemporary Silicon Valley setting, bright authentic teenage dialogue, realistic family characterization, and a tight progression of detection and rising tension. Read full book review >
DRAGON OF THE LOST SEA by Laurence Yep
FANTASY
Released: Oct. 1, 1982

"But for fanciers of fantasy as travelogue of enchantment, there are descriptive passages of spotlight intensity and an overlay of visual embroidery—plus attention to the protagonists' physical sensations, including those involved in the process of changing from human to dragon form."
Yep turns to pure fantasy in this story of a several-hundred-year-old dragon princess traveling the land with a young orphan boy. Read full book review >
THE MARK TWAIN MURDERS by Laurence Yep
BIOGRAPHY
Released: April 1, 1982

"This doesn't sparkle like the Baker Street books, but its plainer setting is evoked in enveloping detail, which gives the adventure a measure of tangible charm."
Narrated by a 15-year-old San Francisco urchin who likes to believe that his real father was an English lord and he himself is the Duke of Baywater, this tells of a two-day 1864 adventure shared by the alleged Duke and the young reporter Mark Twain, who sets out to investigate the murder of the Duke's low-life stepfather and ends up—with the army, navy, and police as well as the Duke at his side—chasing Confederate mint robbers as they attempt to escape by sea. Read full book review >
KIND HEARTS AND GENTLE MONSTERS by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: March 17, 1982

"One never doubts their urgency, or the blood-freezing tension of their interaction."
There are monsters aplenty in this novel about an all-round leader type at Loyola High School in San Francisco and his relationship with Chris, an outwardly bold and nasty, inwardly insecure girl who went through parochial school with him and then to public high school. Read full book review >
SEA GLASS by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1979

"This doesn't match Child of the Owl for atmosphere or excitement, but the father-son abrasions have their own particular sting, and Craig's quieter way of groping for belonging has some of the authentic virtues of the natural environment he experiences with Uncle."
Moving from San Francisco's vibrant Chinatown to the miniscule one down in Concepcion is a drag, and Craig Chin has the added burden of being fat, slow, and clumsy when his father—once Chinatown's basketball champ and an all-city star—wants him to excel at "American" sports. Read full book review >
SEADEMONS by Laurence Yep
Released: Nov. 23, 1977

"Hard to categorize, but nice."
"The Folk" are a shipload of refugees recently escaped from a race of cruel masters who employed them as combat troops and kept them in a state of technological ignorance. Read full book review >
DRAGONWINGS by Laurence Yep
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1975

"And the dream that becomes the plane Dragonwings lifts this into a world where truth and imagination are one."
In the beginning, all is strangeness to Moon Shadow as he leaves the Middle Kingdom to join his father in the Land of the Golden Mountain. . . only to end up in the Tang people's quarter of San Francisco where the drunken "demons" often beat up Tang men and his uncle Black Dog, an opium smoker and a crook, keeps the family all too involved with the brotherhoods. Read full book review >
SWEETWATER by Laurence Yep
Released: May 1, 1973

Shimmering like the star-charmed Argan music that Tyree learns from the spiderlike alien Amadeus, this is a many faceted vision of the watery city of Old Sion, planet Harmony. Read full book review >