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. Craig tries, but their practices together end badly, and his performance in schoolyard games is worse. Things are bumpy, too, with Craig's only new friends, junior high classmate Kenyon, who is sensitive about her beatnik parents' alternative ways, and wise, patient Uncle Quail, a reclusive old Chinese. (For one thing, Uncle Quail is reluctant to include "white devil" Kenyon in their private swims.) But eventually Craig is able to stand up to his father on the sports issue, and--with Uncle Quail's help--his father relents. Like Casey in Child of the Owl (1977), Craig has trouble fitting in as a Chinese American; here however the problem is mostly with others--Craig himself seems certain enough of how things should be to appear self-righteous toward his better-off, assimilated cousins. 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.