Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Reviews - Chinese Heritage Tales by Camille Piccot

Emma Chan-McDougal receives a special gift from her Auntie Gracie: a rag doll named Raggedy Chan. But Raggedy Chan is no ordinary doll. She is a beautiful Chinese princess who lives in a jasper palace on the enchanted isle of Kunlun. The peace of her island home is threatened when Drought Fury steals Winged Dragon, bringer of rain. Without Winged Dragon, Kunlun will wither and die. To save her stricken homeland, Raggedy Chan sets forth alone. Her quest leads her to America, where she meets people who distrust her because she’s different. Can Raggedy Chan adapt to the strange ways of this new land and rescue her beloved dragon? In this modern fairy tale, Chinese-American author Camille Picott draws on her heritage to weave a story of magic, adventure, and sacrifice.

4 stars

Raggedy Chan by Camille Picott involves Auntie Grace telling a story to her niece Emily about respecting her heritage.  The story she chooses to tell is one of a Princess of a faraway place who comes to another land in order to save her home.  She has to make some major sacrifices in order to find what she needs to save her family.

The beginning and end of each chapter involve a scene with Aunt Grace teaching Emily a little of what it means to be Chinese with the middle of the chapters following Raggedy Chan.  The illustrated version of this book has some wonderful pictures to accompany the story.  The pictures of the mythical creatures were especially excellent.

When fifth-grade Emma Chan-McDougal is ridiculed by her classmates for being part Chinese, she's devastated. To ease Emma's wounded self-esteem, her aunt, a Chinese immigrant, spins the mythical tale of a brave little Nine-Tail Fox named Ainu who lives in San Francisco. In a parallel animal world that comes to life when humans slumber, Ainu Nine-Tail and her mother face off against Chih Yu, an ancient demon who feeds on hatred. As the last of their clan, the Nine-Tails are honor-bound by a family oath to defend the Chinese animals from the demon. When Chih Yu kills her mother and leads an angry mob against Chinatown, Ainu is left to complete the task alone. Raw with grief and only partially trained for battle, Ainu must reach deep inside herself to find the wisdom and courage to save her people. Will the journey of Ainu Nine-Tail help Emma find the strength to confront the school bullies and win back her confidence? In this modern Chinese fable, Chinese-American author Camille Picott draws on her heritage to weave a story of courage, truth, and adventure.

4 stars

Nine-Tail Fox by Camille Picott is a story about being strong in the face of prejudice to help children.  The book tells a tale a Chinese girl having to deal with adversity in school though the lessons can be applied to any child who feels like an outcast.

The story was influenced by actual events that Chinese immigrants were forced to live through.  The lessons taught are familiar from many childhood stories, but I found the use of characters that aren't normally seen in the tales I grew up with.  This is a book that I will be sharing with my daughter as she grows up for sure.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading Raggedy Chan and look forward to reading Nine Tail Fox.