Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE BONE COLLECTOR’S SON by Paul Yee

THE BONE COLLECTOR’S SON

By Paul Yee

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7614-5242-7
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

It’s 1907 in Vancouver, British Columbia, and 14-year-old Bing-wing Chan resents and is frightened by having to help his father in his work—digging up bones of the dead to be shipped “home to China for reburial near their ancestors.” Partly a mystery in which strange happenings occur after they unearth a skeleton that’s missing its skull, and when Bing takes a job as a houseboy outside of Chinatown in a home that appears to be haunted, the story also offers young readers a glimpse into the racism and tough conditions faced by Chinese immigrants at the turn of the century. Interspersed old Chinese ghost tales also add a sense of traditional spiritual beliefs. Basing his story on a riot that erupted on September 7, 1907, when “Vancouver’s Asiatic Exclusion League staged a parade to call for an end to Asian immigration into Canada,” the author attempts to bring an important period of history to light. However, Yee’s intent to convey the overriding anti-Asian sentiment of the times comes at the expense of textured storytelling. (afterword, panoramic view) (Historical fiction. 10-14)