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Ribbons
     

Ribbons

4.4 5
by Laurence Yep
 

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If you asked her, Robin would say that ballet means everything to her.

But no one's asking Robin. Not her parents, who can no longer afford ballet lessons because all of their money is going toward bringing Robin's Chinese grandmother to America. Not her grandmother, a demanding woman who can barely walk. And now, Robin is even losing touch with her ballet

Overview

If you asked her, Robin would say that ballet means everything to her.

But no one's asking Robin. Not her parents, who can no longer afford ballet lessons because all of their money is going toward bringing Robin's Chinese grandmother to America. Not her grandmother, a demanding woman who can barely walk. And now, Robin is even losing touch with her ballet friends, who are moving on without her. It's hard for Robin to hide her resentment of this foreign grandmother who's changed her whole life. Then Robin uncovers a secret that leads to a new understanding of the many ways in which she and her tough old grandmother are alike.

"An appealing story that draws readers into the world of ballet, while offering an authentic and sometimes amusing look at the dynamics of Chinese-American family life."—School Library Journal

"Kids who appreciate a story about fighting for one's dream will enjoy Robin's saga."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Ribbons

"An appealing story that draws readers into the world of ballet, while offering an authentic and sometimes amusing look at the dynamics of Chinese-American family life."—School Library Journal

"Kids who appreciate a story about fighting for one's dream will enjoy Robin's saga."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Yep fumbles with this strained tale about an 11-year-old girl who yearns to dance. The star of her ballet class, Robin Lee has to give up her lessons at Madame Oblamov's academy when her mother imposes a draconian budget on the household, in order to save enough money to bring Robin's grandmother from China to the Lees' home in San Francisco. Robin gamely practices on her own, stuffing her feet into outgrown toe shoes and dreaming of her return to ballet school, but tuition money isn't available, even after her grandmother finally moves in. To make matters worse, Grandmother blatantly favors Robin's younger brother. In a forced parallel, Robin damages her feet (those too-small toe shoes), and only Grandmother can understand her determination to dance anyway: Grandmother's feet were bound in childhood and, despite immense pain, she unbound them in adulthood as a way of embracing modern values. A lot of the characterizations here verge on stereotypes: the indomitable Chinese matriarch, the unstoppable young artist with a dream, the impoverished but noble-hearted Russian ballet mistress. Combine this with the adults' extremist stances (Mom won't even let Robin keep the $20 her other grandmother sends for Christmas), and the novel reads as a lengthy contrivance. Ages 10-14. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Although ballet means everything to 11-year-old Robin Lee, she is forced to give up her lessons. Her parents need every cent they can save to fulfill their long held dream of bringing her grandmother over from China before Hong Kong becomes part of the communist mainland. Robin is determined to maintain her skill by practicing alone and with friends, but it is difficult. It is even more difficult for her to hide her resentment and get along with her grandmother when she arrives and is moved into Robin's room. But after discovering a secret involving Grandmother's injured feet, as a result of being bound, they gradually come to understand and care for each other.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-Yep once again explores the hazardous terrain that separates a Eurasian girl from her Chinese mother and grandmother. At 11, Robin has found her life's passion: ballet. Then she learns that her high-minded, impecunious parents can no longer afford lessons, now that they are bringing Grandmother over from Hong Kong. Refusing to give up the world she loves, Robin continues to practice in the garage on a cement floor, wearing toe shoes she rapidly outgrows. Meanwhile, Grandmother arrives, limping painfully with the aid of two canes. Though Mother forbids any mention of her disability, Robin's ignorance about bound feet strains credibility. The girl's wary hostility toward the old woman who so disrupts her life turns to active dislike, and then to understanding when she sees her uncovered damaged feet. Andersen's story "The Little Mermaid," awkwardly patched into the narrative, symbolizes the determination to transcend pain shared by Robin and her grandmother. The parents' inattention to their daughter's damaging practice sessions seems contrived to further the plot, and the murkier depths of mutilation in the cause of beauty are never sounded. If Robin's self-knowledge seems unnaturally mature, it is because she is telling about her emotions rather than letting readers feel them. This said, Robin's final epiphany, using the book's symbolic title to great effect, is genuinely felt, and genuinely moving. An appealing story that draws readers into the world of ballet while offering an authentic and sometimes amusing look at the dynamics of Chinese-American family life.Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780698116061
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
10/28/1997
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
642,911
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Laurence Michael Yep is a prolific Chinese-American writer, best known for children's books. In 2005, he received the biennial Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for his career contribution to American children's literature. His distinguished novels for young people that deal with the Asian-American experience include two Newbery Honor Award winners, Dragonwings and Dragon's Gate. Mr. Yep, who has a Ph.D. in English, has taught at the University of California at Berkeley and Santa Barbara. He also is an award-winning playwright and has edited a collection of writings by Asian-Americans.

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Ribbons 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ribbons by laurence Yep is about a girl that loves to dance and then one day her Grandmother comes from Hong Kong and ruins the entire family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is highly recommended. Somethings may seem stereotypical (in response to one of the critics) but as an Asian American, I think respecting the mother's authority is extremely often. And I think the author has the right to express that.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ribbons is about a girl named Robin who takes ballet. She has to quit ballet because her family is bringing Robin¿s grandmother over from Hong Kong. Robin was supposed to be able to start ballet again when the debt is paid off, but it takes longer than they thought. Meanwhile, Robin¿s brother Ian joined his grandmother and is ganging up against her. Will Robin be able to take ballet again? Read and find out! I liked this book because it was about family. I like boos that show families that may have had some problems then resolve them so the family is happier.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a book that is touching, book that will touch the deepest spot in your heart. It will give you a sweet feeling at the end, leaving you feeling beautiful like a morning butterfly. It is a book that is graceful and light like a ballerina skimming a still lake like wind. A must read book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent. It is about a girl Robin who loves to dance until her grandmother comes over from Hong King to the US. To find out more, read Ribbons by Laurence Yep!~ I read this book for a book report and I can't wait to see the grade I got on this book!~
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book because I could relate to the main character Robin. She felt that dance is her life and I love dance too. Paw Paw is Robin¿s grandma. They had to pay for her to come over from China. Now the family can not afford Robin¿s ballet lesson and Robin is sad. She is also sad because Paw Paw is ignoring her. Toward the middle of the story Paw Paw is still ignoring Robin but she is paying attention to Ian (Robin¿s brother). She takes Robin¿s ballet shoes away because Robin is ruining her feet by curling her toes under her foot. Towards the end of the story Robin is happy. Why you ask? Well if you want to know why she is happy and if everything works out then read Ribbons by: Laurence Yep.