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Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society

Review

Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society

Chinese Cinderella, known fondly as "CC" by her friends, finds refuge with a very special group of people when her father throws her out of the house for showing disrespect:

"'Get out of my house this minute! Get out and never come back!' He was in such a rage that he grabbed the back of my school uniform and lifted me off the floor as if I were a kitten. Then he marched to the back door, dumped me outside and slammed the door behind me."

Alone on the streets of Shanghai, CC is in the process of finding her way to her Big Aunt's apartment when she sees a fantastic demonstration of martial arts by three athletic young men at a local bazaar. These young people and their teacher, known as "Grandma Wu," befriend her. Later CC learns that they are part of a very special group known as The Secret Dragon Society --- an ancient branch of the Shaolin Association of Wandering Knights, which has been in China for over 1,400 years. Their purpose is to help those who suffer injustices. CC soon begins schooling under their strict guidelines and also training in the special art of kung fu under Master Wu, son of Grandma Wu. She is made to feel welcome among these strangers, who offer shelter and the possibility of a better life in a China that has been taken over by the Japanese just before the outbreak of World War II.

At first, most of CC's adventures center on her development as she learns more about The Secret Dragon Society and tries to sort out the emotional turmoil over her estrangement from her family. Niang (her father's wife) seems to have declared an all-out war against CC as she successfully manipulates those around her and pursues CC in an attempt to control her. CC's refuge is found in both her loving aunt and the dear friends surrounding Grandma Wu at the academy. But her life changes dramatically when they all become involved in saving some American pilots who are being held captive by the Japanese.

The danger, the courage and the heroic efforts that go into this mission are totally captivating. Although the price is high and the risk great, CC, Grandma Wu and the three other children are able to help the American soldiers --- but not without some tragedy. Adeline Yen Mah's story resonates with factual events woven beautifully into this thrilling, inspiring adventure.

Provided at the end of this fast-moving book is the addition of "Historical Notes" explaining the factual events surrounding this time of war in China. This is followed by a "Glossary of Chinese Words," an abbreviated explanation of "The Chinese Zodiac," and finally, the author's bibliographical sources. Throughout the book there are references to Chinese legends and lore, and these additions are immensely helpful. This is a wonderful book for sparking class discussion and definitely great for book talking.

Yen Mah, author of the previously published CHINESE CINDERELLA: THE TRUE STORY OF AN UNWANTED DAUGHTER, reminds us again of what a truly inspiring storyteller she is.

Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts on January 1, 2005

Chinese Cinderella and the Secret Dragon Society
by Adeline Yen Mah

  • Publication Date: January 1, 2005
  • Genres: Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0060567341
  • ISBN-13: 9780060567347