cover image The Imp That Ate My Homework

The Imp That Ate My Homework

Laurence Yep. HarperCollins Children's Books, $14.95 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027688-1

Jim's Grandpop is widely known as the meanest man in Chinatown, and Jim is afraid of him. But then he meets the Imp, a truly nasty Chinese genie who has escaped from a dug-up vase. The Imp is out to wreck Jim and his family with his destructive tricks and capers--and who is going to believe Jim when he tells his teacher that the Imp ate his homework for a snack? Only cranky old Grandpop has the key to defeating their magical opponent. Yep deftly draws a picture of a family tiptoeing around a volatile patriarch. But the point is well made that sometimes children don't know everything about their grandparents--especially Jim, who doesn't know that Grandpop is secretly the supernatural warrior Chung Kuei, who defeated the Imp hundreds of years ago. Some readers may wish for an explanation of exactly what the Imp is and what it represents in Chinese culture; Huang's drawings, at least, give readers a clear picture of an ugly demon with four arms, horns and leering grin, stirring up mischief for his own wicked pleasure. Readers will be cheering as Grandpop makes the Imp so mad it throws a tantrum and yells, ""I'm going to sue for slander."" Good-natured fun. Ages 8-12. (Jan.)