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by Yin & illustrated by Chris Soentpiet

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-399-23406-3
Publisher: Philomel

It’s the year after the big fire in Chinatown when Ming crosses the ocean to join his brothers in San Francisco. His oldest brother runs a store, rebuilt after the fire, but customers are few as many Chinese are working on the Transcontinental Railroad. His brother leaves him to manage the store, telling him not to leave Chinatown, but it’s lonely, so he jams his braid under his hat as a disguise and sets off to see the town. He meets a friend named Patrick who teaches him English and who finds the store fascinating. The friendship grows and, through Patrick’s loving family, the Irish community patronizes the store, and it flourishes. An idealized story with realistic pictures bathed in exaggerated orange light, readers will be fascinated by Soentpiet’s incredible details in the scenes from one street to another and inside the shop. A follow-up to Coolies (2001) by the same husband-and-wife author/illustrator team writing about an era that is seldom addressed for this age group. (author’s note, resource list) (Picture book. 6-9)