Reading level: ages 5-10
Pages: 32 pages
Publisher: Tradewind Books (April 2002)
Language: English
ISBN: 1566564557

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Awards + Reviews
The Jade Necklace


Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
When Yenyee's fisherman father is lost at sea, her destitute mother decides to send her with a local family to the New World to help care for little May-jen. Both girls are lonely and miss China. One day Yenyee rescues May-jen when she falls into the sea. To her surprise, she finds tangled in May-jen's hair the jade necklace her father had given her, which she had tossed into the sea in the vain hope of bribing it to save her father. Her anger at the ocean abates, and happiness arrives with the promise of her family joining them. Lin paints full and double-page scenes suggesting some Asian art styles with heavy black outlines and solid color areas. The emphasis is on character and esthetic design, although scenes of the ocean are filled with action. The story is a bit unrealistic, but offers a picture of early Chinese immigration. 2002, Crocodile Books/ Interlink Publishing,

School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-This tender story about Chinese immigrants to Canada opens in their homeland, as Yenyee's fisherman father gives her a jade pendant carved like a fish. When a typhoon blows up while he's out at sea, she throws the necklace into the water to bargain for his life. Still, he drowns, leaving her family penniless. Reluctantly, the girl accepts a job as caregiver to May-jen, the village merchant's daughter, and accompanies them to the New World, where both girls are terribly homesick. When May-jen nearly drowns in the ocean and Yenyee rescues her, miraculously finding the lost jade pendant, it marks a turning point in the older girl's acceptance of their new home. Deliberately naive color illustrations, composed of strong, simple forms, subtly portray a range of emotions from sorrow and desperation to happiness. Dramatic, wordless spreads advance the narrative. The art conveys a clear sense of place but confuses readers' sense of time by showing the immigrants traveling by sailboat at the turn of the 19th-century to a country where little girls wear short skirts and socks. In a few sentences, Yee's phrasing becomes formal and stilted. Nevertheless, art and text combine into an engaging story with emotions that children will understand.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Family, faith, and the immigrant experience get equal treatment in Yee's (Tales from Gold Mountain, 1999, etc.) latest offering. "This small gift comes from me and your friend, the sea," says Yenyee's fisherman father as he gives her a special necklace-a jade fish on a red cord-just before his disappearance in a typhoon. Lin's (Where on Earth Is My Bagel?, 2001, etc.) color-soaked panel, framed in antique white, shows the girl standing defiantly against the wind and rain as misty, blue-and-green water swirls around her feet. "If I give you back my most precious possession, please will you give me back my father?" she pleads before she surrenders her necklace to the sea. With little money and few prospects, Yenyee joins Chen Ming, the local merchant, on his journey to the New World, where she will care for his daughter, May-Jen. "Do your job well," says Yenyee's mother, "and then perhaps our family will reunite one day." When the child slips and falls into the ocean on a visit to a seaside park, Yenyee bravely saves her. Back on land, the two embrace and May-Jen discovers the long-abandoned jade necklace in Yenyee's tangled hair. "How can I ever thank you?" Chen Ming asks when the girls return. "By bringing my mother and brother here to live with me," she answers. In the end, a snapshot-sized illustration shows Yenyee welcoming her family as they sail to shore. Yee's narrative takes flight alongside Lin's accomplished illustration; unfortunately, his truncated closing falls a bit flat, leaving eager readers wishing for more. (Picture book. 5-10)