cover image The Rainbow People

The Rainbow People

Laurence Yep. HarperCollins Publishers, $16 (194pp) ISBN 978-0-06-026760-5

The sections into which these 20 stories are grouped--``Tricksters,'' ``Fools,'' ``Virtues and Vices,'' ``In Chinese-America'' and ``Love,''--offer readers a way to pick and choose their ways through the stories. But the best way to read this book is in one gulp, treasuring each bite of wisdom and wit Yep offers. The stories are as much about common sense and kind hearts as about enchantment and unearthly beings. In ``The Child of Calamity,'' an old woman finally makes peace with her own bad luck; in ``The Professor of Smells,'' an avowed gambler makes a bet on the limits of his own good luck--and wins. Yep introduces the collection by recalling the works of early Chinese-Americans, and the ways in which these tales reflected or instructed those lives. With or without this knowledge, this is a collection that will enlighten and beguile. Illustrations not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. (May)