DREAM SOUL by Laurence Yep


Age Range: 8 - 12
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Yep (Cockroach Cooties, p. 394, etc.) draws from his own family history to create an intriguing story, again utilizing narrative to explore conflicting cultures. Joan, the eldest of three children, is increasingly frustrated as a first-generation American of strict Chinese parents. It is December 1927 when she and her younger siblings convince their father to give Christmas a chance. They devise a contest: all the children must be good for the three weeks leading up to the holiday. It is the new neighbors, the fabulously exotic and wealthy Mr. Barrington and his daughter, Victoria, who act as catalyst to Joan’s open rebellion. Christmas is apparently lost. Joan’s father is also becoming increasingly ill with crippling stomach pains. Eventually the Barringtons show themselves to be double-dealers and with Father bedridden, Joan realizes her deep love for him and the sacrifices he has made for his family. Desperately seeking a way to help him, Joan refers to a Chinese tale he has told her and comes to believe that her father is ill because his Dream Soul is lost. She trudges through the snow, calling to his wayward soul and comes to believe she’s found it. When Father begins to heal, she’s not certain if it is the return of his soul or a change of diet based on learning that it is milk his stomach can’t stand. Infused with warmth, Christmas is seen through the eyes of those who have never before experienced the beauty of the tree and the joy of exchanging gifts. Despite Yep’s distracting use of italics for spoken English, this is a smooth, tightly woven, and thoroughly satisfying story. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 2000
ISBN: 0-06-028389-0
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2000


ChildrenCITY OF DEATH by Laurence Yep
by Laurence Yep