Sarah's Stars

Paul Yee. The Bone Collector's Son
Tradewind  $12.95  ISBN 1-896580-50-5  175 pg.
Reviewed by Emma, Age 13

Bing froze at the sight of two dark figures floating among the gravestones. No one was supposed to be here, not this early in the morning. Ghosts! They seemed to hover in the mist that hung over the graveyard. As he drew closer, Bing realized they were grieving mourners. As father and son approached, the two black-clad mourners glanced up and turned their backs on Bing and his father, just like all the other white people.

The Bone Collectorís Son is about a teenage boy growing up in Vancouverís Chinatown in 1907. After moving to Canada from China with his father, Bing-wing Chan, or Bing, is confused and afraid. Because of his fatherís gambling debts, Bing is forced to stop going to school and help his father dig up the bones of dead Chinese workers, in order to send them home to China and their families. When they dig up a headless skeleton strange things start to happen. Things get even weirder when Bing escapes his job as a bone collector to become a houseboy in a rich, white familyís haunted household.

Paul Yee, a Canadian award-winning author of children and adult literature, is the author of The Bone Collectorís Son. He has written two non-fiction books, a collection of short stories, and several other novels for kids and teens. Many of these have won awards. Also, many of them are about Chinese people in Canada. Paul Yee was born in Saskatchewan, grew up in the Vancouverís Chinatown, and now lives in Toronto where he writes full time. The Bone Collectorís Son is a historical fiction book with a few little thriller-chiller tidbits thrown in. It is a 175-page paperback, and I would recommend it for kids in grades four to nine. This book is educational and interesting at the same time!

The Bone Collectorís Son is sad, scary, intriguing, and strange! Itís a good book to read while youíre on a road trip or bored, but maybe not so good for a late-night babysitting job! The start is explanatory and the end is complete and satisfying. Throughout the book there are many mysteries and missions for the characters to solve. It is neither too short nor too long. Serious one moment, spine tingling the next, this book keeps you thinking and wondering the whole way through. Historical fiction is not what I would normally read, but it was interesting, and well written, and one you want to keep reading once youíve started. That is why I give this book four stars.


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