YANG THE YOUNGEST AND HIS TERRIBLE EAR by Lensey Namioka

YANG THE YOUNGEST AND HIS TERRIBLE EAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Youngest of four in a musically gifted family, Yingtao is miserable because he's tone-deaf--a fact denied by his father, who obtusely persists in trying to teach him the violin. The family has recently immigrated to Seattle from Shanghai and is struggling financially; Father hopes that if his children play a quartet creditably at a recital it'll bring him more students. Meanwhile, Yingtao makes friends with Matthew, who does play the violin well--but his father thinks Matthew should concentrate on baseball, in which Yingtao now begins to excel. In the nicest moment here, Yingtao's Third Sister unmasks their scheme to have Matthew play from behind a screen while Yingtao fakes it during the recital--with the result that both fathers begin to see the light. Along with the theme of overcoming parents' unrealistic expectations, Namioka (author of several Japanese historical adventures: The Coming of the Bear, p. 615), depicts in some detail the problems of adjusting to a new country and countering stereotypical thinking. The message, however, overwhelms the rather slight story, while Yingtao's portrayal seems inconsistent: He knows too much English to be so unfamiliar with American slang and customs. Adequate but simplistic and overextended. De Kiefte's frequent impressionistic drawings are a plus.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0395732395
Page count: 134pp
Publisher: "Joy Street/Little, Brown"