San Francisco, 1880
Shannon enjoys having her new friend, Mi Ling, stay with her family. The fact that others look down upon the Chinese population in San Francisco doesn’t faze her – Mi Ling is good and sweet! Why should she be disliked because other people who happen to have the same skin color aren’t good and sweet?
But Shannon is to learn that even good people struggle to accept new faces. And when books go missing from Shannon’s book drive for the library, people don’t mind hinting that they think Mi Ling is responsible. Can Shannon find the missing books and prove that Mi Ling is not a thief?
Early on, Shannon meets and develops an unreasonable fear of Mr. McGuffin, the neighborhood’s milkman. His giant stature, gruff voice, and misunderstood teasing (he jokes about eating the neighborhood children) form a focal point of fear for Shannon until she realizes in the end that he is harmless.
Shannon and her friends watch as Betsy’s sister walks on the porch with “her new flame, Arthur.” [pg. 50] Nothing romantic occurs and the sister is regarded as an annoying prissy, NOT someone to be jealous of.
One dinnertime conversation concerns the topic of leprechauns, fairies, magic, and spells and whether they are real. (It is decided that they are.) Elves and brownies are also mentioned in different places.
‘Gosh’ is used twice.
Conclusion. Okay – definitely not a historically enlightening story.
Review © 2014 Laura Verret