THE GOLD-THREADED DRESS by Carolyn Marsden

THE GOLD-THREADED DRESS

Age Range: 8 - 10

KIRKUS REVIEW

Oy silently cries out in frustration that her teacher and classmates do not accept her as Thai; her teacher issues her an “easier-to-remember” English name; and her fourth-grade classmates pull their round eyes into slits and call her “Chinita,” little Chinese. Revealing the challenges young immigrants face in a mixed-race school environment, Oy feels torn between the respect she feels for her Thai culture and the acceptance she wants from her American culture. When she draws her family picture, their eyes are as round as those of the boy who teases her most, further exemplifying her will to fit in. She typifies the average fourth-grader’s yearning in a way that each reader will recognize or remember. Acceptance into a campus girl’s club is contingent upon allowing chubby club members to wear her petite, gold-threaded dress. The slow plot builds to climactic action as school authorities disband and discipline the whole club, whose members are discovered lined up in their underwear waiting for a turn to try on, inadvertently soil, and tear the delicate garment, symbolic of Oy’s tender spirit. In an emotional buildup, Oy is forced to face her choices and reconsider her goals. Marsden, in her debut, draws on her own experience as she describes a loving family guiding their daughter in a difficult time. Those who read this short, character-driven story will remember the parallels between their personal experience and the forceful message, concluding that being kinder to new immigrants builds delightful friendships and provides interesting insights into rich cultures. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7636-1569-2
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2002




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