Using humorous intertwining story lines, Yang presents a mix of realistic fiction and Chinese mythology, each of which illustrate the desire to belong and the painful repercussions of stereotypes. Jin Wang must attempt to outrun his Chinese heritage in American schools, Chin-Kee, who is ruining his American cousin’s life, presents a negative racist caricature, and the Monkey King must prove his worth to the other gods. With bright, engaging images and seamless transitions, Yang makes a powerful point about tolerance and the continual struggle for those with different heritage to be completely accepted in American society.
I LOVED this one! The illustrations are beautiful and often hilarious. The dialogue is believable and funny — all around this is a highly entertaining book. While at first it might seem that the three different stories don’t have much to do with each other, they all come together in an interesting twist at the end. My one criticism was that I thought the ending was too rushed, and part of the “twist” just didn’t make sense to me. However, the book is still really well done (it won the Printz award!), and delivers a powerful message about how damaging stereotypes can be. Even if you’re not a fan of “comic books”, give this one a read — you won’t want to put it down!
*Printz Award Winner
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