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review 2017-08-07 04:42
Dragon's Guide...
A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans - Joanne Ryder,Laurence Yep



It was a lovely funeral for Fluffy, the best pet I ever had.

- Opening sentence


Avoid spoiling your pet with too many treats; however, spoiling yourself is all well and good.

- Chapter 4


Be firm with your pet and make it clear what is acceptable behavior. Both you and your pet will be happier for it.

- Chapter 6


This is a cute book told from the point of view of the dragon (Miss Drake). Amelia was Miss Drake's pet (although she called Amelia Fluffy). Amelia left the dragon to her great neice, Winnie. But Miss Drake doesn't want a new pet and Winnie seems untrainable. The book tells how Winnie and Miss Drake get to know each other and become friends. Dragons and other magical creatures hide themselves from humans (unless they are trustworthy). Miss Drakes can transform into a female human when she needs to. There are plenty of other magical creatures who also hide themselves from humans in this story.  


I really enjoyed this book. Miss Drake is sarcastic and controlling and Winnie holds her own in the friendship. Winnie finds a journal that ends up wreaking havoc, but together, Miss Drake and Winnie find a way to fix things.


This book is nominated for a 2017-18 Sunshine State Young Readers Award, grades 3-5. I think it will be a popular one this year. I am a bit interested in the sequels, but my classes start again soon, and I don't think I'll have time to read them.

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review 2017-04-07 06:48
Dragon Road
Dragon Road - Laurence Yep

I really wish there were more women in this book. And sometimes I found the basketball writing hard to understand (it's just not always super clear what's happening on the court). Other than that I enjoyed this book a lot. It ties in nicely to the series despite the main character not being a Young.


I especially liked the part where the team plays the Harlem Globetrotters. A lot of the others books only concentrate on white/Chinese tensions.* But this book includes the racism Black people were facing in the 1930s as well.


The Golden Mountain Chronicles as a series is very good. I personally enjoy the books with more female characters the most. I also enjoy the later books (chronologically in the series, not published order) more than the earlier books. It's easier to feel the personal connection Yep has to those stories (Sea Glass through Thief of Hearts, and maybe include Dragon Road in there too) which resonates with me and my experiences as a Chinese American. I do appreciate the historical novels as well though, especially since they cover less well known aspects of American history.


I didn't quite finish my reread of the series in March. I'm hoping to get to the three I skipped later this year. We'll see if I can manage it.


*A couple of the books mention the Civil War, but there's nothing as explicit as the scenes with the Globetrotters.

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review 2017-03-29 19:16
Dragons of Silk
Dragons of Silk (Golden Mountain Chronicles) - Laurence Yep

This book is not related to any of the others in the Golden Mountain Chronicles as far as I can tell (and I've reread them all within the last two years or so... most of them this month). So don't go into this expecting a story revisiting any previous characters or storylines.


Parts of the book reminded me of Amy Tan's novels (mother vs daughter, born in China vs born in America conflicts). Not in a bad way, just in way that felt obvious to me. I was reading and then I was thinking, "This is the same stuff Amy Tan writes about" and then I was back in Yep's story. It didn't feel cliche to me, it felt more like, a lot of Chinese people probably experienced these generational problems.


As with the Golden Mountain Chronicles I enjoyed the modern day bits more than the historical. There are some instances of emotional and physical abuse in the book, especially early on. I thought they were pretty well handled, but I also have no personal experience dealing with abuse.


Yep does play into one of my biggest pet peeves. At the end of the book there is a new generation of kids that are half Chinese/half white. And of course one has blonde hair and one has blue eyes (or something like that) because that's what all half Asian/half white people look like in books. I know that half Asian/half white kids exist with very distinct "white" and/or "Asian" features, but most of the half Asian/half white people I know have brown hair and brown eyes.


Dragon's of Silk is worth checking out if you're a fan of Yep, but I wish it weren't included in the Golden Mountain Chronicles. It just doesn't fit.

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review 2017-03-20 21:55
Dragonwings - Laurence Yep

I'm falling behind on my reviews. I'll try and catch up before the month is over.


I've slowly been reading Yep's Golden Mountain Chronicles this month. I don't think I've ever read them in chronological order. It was fine for the first four because they were written sequentially. Dragonwings has a very different feel from the first four probably because it's at least a decade older than those first books.


The narration style is very different which makes it feel more historical. It also covers a much longer time period than any of the other books.


The book explains a lot and at first it felt like a book written for non-Chinese people. As I was reading though, the explanations felt more like they were necessary for historical reference than explaining Chinese culture.


I do like that Yep italicizes English words and dialogue. It's an easy way to recognize the code switching in the book and normalizes Chinese (as opposed to most books that italicize the "foreign" words).

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review 2017-03-15 03:23
The Traitor
The Traitor - Laurence Yep

I definitely didn't feel like reading about a race riot tonight, so I ended up skimming the last 100 pages. It gets intense from what I could see.


There are so many men in these books, and they're getting bleaker as they go on. There are also so many matter-of-fact descriptions of death/murder in the stories so far and it feels really weird.


It seems like it's been ages since I was reading about Cassia in The Serpent's Children and like it will be ages before I finally reach Casey in The Child of the Owl.

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