cover image In the Eye of War

In the Eye of War

Margaret Chang. Margaret K. McElderry Books, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-689-50503-4

Based on Raymond Chang's childhood in Japanese-occupied Shanghai during WW II, this first novel focuses on Shao-Shao, a 10-year-old Chinese boy. His father is working with the resistance against the Japanese, which imperils the family yet provides a source of black-market goods. Even with the war raging, Shao-Shao leads a somewhat normal life: he goes to school, flies his kite and is coddled by his nurse. But some difficulties prevail: the boy wants to be friends with Li-Sha, but since her father is collaborating with the Japanese, he is not supposed to talk with her. And because of his wartime concerns, Shao-Shao's father is even more distant and harder to please than usual. While as a work of character development the Changs' story is somewhat lacking--the boy's problems are never resolved--they nevertheless present a riveting exploration of a time and place now gone. Ages 9-12. (Apr.)