cover image The Ghost Fox

The Ghost Fox

Laurence Yep. Scholastic, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-47204-3

Drawing on a classic Chinese ghost story, Yep delivers a lively, shivery tale in which a nine-year-old boy tests his wits against those of a powerful ghost fox. The stakes are high: the ghost fox is intent on stealing Little Lee's mother's soul. Prompted by his loving mother's seemingly inexplicable transformation into a harsh and distant woman, Little Lee pretends to be a ghost fox and gets the best of his adversary, restoring his mother to her former self. Little Lee--resourceful, persistent and remarkably self-sufficient--makes an appealing hero. His story, though simply told, spans an impressive range, from the tension of the supernatural to the humor of Little Lee's interactions with his mother's family to the darkness of the mother's estrangement. The Tsengs (who illustrated Yep's The Boy Who Swallowed Snakes , reviewed above) provide a visual grounding for the exotic 17th-century setting with historically accurate pen-and-ink drawings. Ages 8-11. (Jan.)