THE JADE DRAGON by Carolyn Marsden


Age Range: 7 - 10
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Ginny Liao is overjoyed to see a new Chinese girl in her class, and she hopes they can be friends. Stephanie’s initial disinterest seems to have vanished when a note arrives asking Ginny over to play. Ginny is first surprised that Stephanie’s parents are Caucasian (it’s 1983) and then saddened to find that it was Stephanie’s mother who wrote the note. However, Ginny soldiers on with her attempt at making friends. At a party, Stephanie convinces Ginny to let her “borrow” a family heirloom, the Chinese zodiac animal of the title, and this becomes a constant worry for Ginny and the pivotal issue at story’s end. The problem of a Chinese parent bound to tradition and the need for a child to fit in is never far from the surface, as Ginny struggles to convince her parents that it’s okay to ask Santa for Christmas gifts, and her mother regularly expresses dismay at American customs. Stephanie’s disdain for all things Chinese only complicates matters, until Ginny discovers a way into Stephanie’s heart in a somewhat facile ending. While the girls are supposed to be in the second grade, they behave more like fourth- or fifth-graders, a misstep that is a shame, given the lack of good stories written for this age group. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-7636-3012-8
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2006


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