THE STAR FISHER by Laurence Yep

THE STAR FISHER

Age Range: 9 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The author of Dragonwings (Newbery Honor, 1976) draws on his mother's childhood to depict a Chinese family's experiences when they arrive from Ohio to open a West Virginia laundry in 1927. Eldest child Joan Lee is 15; unlike their parents, she and her siblings were born in the US and speak English. Their first two encounters set up the difficulties they will face and how they will be countered: when they step off the train in Clarksburg, ne'er-do-well bigots greet them with cruel taunts; but their landlady, a retired schoolmistress, warmly welcomes and befriends them. Still, "The Star Fisher," a Chinese folk tale Joan shares with her little sister, symbolizes Joan's position even after she gains acceptance: like the child of the selkie-like bird-wife in the story, she sees through two sets of eyes. Yep has shaped his family's stories into a rather old-fashioned novel of small-town prejudice bowing to good will and some humorously applied ingenuity. Joan is provided with another spunky outcast as a friend; pungent family interaction and abundant period details help to complete a vivid picture. While learning to cook, Mrs. Lee bakes a series of inedible apple pies that strain credulity, but they do serve the plot well when she finally bakes a good one and makes a hit at a church social. A likable, thoughtful story about a young woman learning to value her own differences. (Fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: May 20th, 1991
ISBN: 0-688-09365-5
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1991




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