CHILD OF THE OWL

GOLDEN MOUNTAIN CHRONICLES: 1965

From the Golden Mountain Chronicles series

"I knew more about race horses than I knew about myself—I mean myself as a Chinese," says Casey, a street-wise, jeans-wearing twelve-year-old. Then her father Barney's gambling habit lands him in the hospital, the victim of a beating, and Casey is sent to live with her Paw-Paw (grandmother) in the small, tight world that was San Francisco's Chinatown during the early Sixties. Marked as an outsider by her inability to speak Chinese and, for the first time, questioning the Americanized values of friends like Tallulah "Booger" Chew (whose ambition is to design clothes for Katy Keene comics) and Gilbert, who models himself after James Dean, Casey comes to think of herself as a child of the Owl-Spirit—the family's ancestress according to Paw-Paw and the central figure of a long, dreamlike legend that has been handed down through the generations. But while the Owl-Spirit helps Casey to find her way as an alien caught between two cultures and to feel close to the mother she never knew, it is the toughness she's learned from Barney that sends her out on a hunt for the burglar who steals Paw-Paw's valuable owl charm. Visions of herself as both a Kung Fu heroine and child of the owl clash when Casey, Booger, and Paw-Paw's elderly friend, Mr. Jeh, capture the thief and are horrified to discover his identity. Yet even the surprise ending fits seamlessly into Yep's vision, which combines the chiseled fantasy of Dragonwings (1975) with the hard-edged anxieties of growing up poor and non-white in the early Beatles era. This is played out against a background of underheated walk-up flats, cheap souvenir shops, and memories of the old China where dream-souls wandered the earth at night, a beautifully transmuted Chinatown legend, and an odds-on popular favorite as well.

Pub Date: April 1, 1977

ISBN: 978-0-673-70372-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1977

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CINDERELLA

This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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