The Cook's Family

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What do you do when your world is falling apart? Robin Lee can't stand her parents' constant fighting, so she's glad to spend time with her grandmother in Chinatown. They've befriended a lonely cook and pretend to be his long-lost family. At Cook's restaurant, Robin's a star and a whole new world opens up to her. In her make-believe father she finally discovers a sense of her Chinese heritage, and she sees a new and exciting side to her ...
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Overview

What do you do when your world is falling apart? Robin Lee can't stand her parents' constant fighting, so she's glad to spend time with her grandmother in Chinatown. They've befriended a lonely cook and pretend to be his long-lost family. At Cook's restaurant, Robin's a star and a whole new world opens up to her. In her make-believe father she finally discovers a sense of her Chinese heritage, and she sees a new and exciting side to her grandmother. The thing is, once Robin starts pretending, she doesn't want to stop.

"The sense of place is immediate, showing acutely the differences between Chinatown and Robin's Richmond District neighborhood...This is a fun story, and a unique one that will appeal to readers on several levels." --School Library Journal

"This sequel to Ribbons takes a further searching and funny look at Chinese American family life." --Publishers Weekly

"A vivid, first-person account of a pivotal year in a young boy's life."--School Library Journal

Robin devises a new identity in this sequel to Ribbons.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This sequel to Ribbons takes a further searching and funny look at Chinese-American family life. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Karen Porter
Robin Lee is watching the destruction of her family due to the conflicts between her Chinese mother and her mainstream American father. Her mother feels compelled to honor her Chinese heritage by helping her brothers start a business. Robin's father resents the time spent away from the immediate family. Robin feels out of touch with her Chinese heritage. When she visits Chinatown with her grandmother, the two are adopted by a cook at a local restaurant. They become an imaginary family and Robin learns to appreciate her heritage and feel part of her Chinese family. The story is interesting and easy to read, but as the plot unfolds, it becomes too simple. The happily-ever-after ending is too easily achieved. A sexual reference in the fifth chapter is neither necessary nor appropriate for children.
VOYA - Cynthia Ann Grady
Yep's story of Chinese-American Robin Lee that began with Ribbons (Putnam's, 1996) continues here, though both books can be enjoyed independently. The sequel opens about a year later when Robin is twelve. She continues to study ballet, but her parents argue even more than before, which upsets Robin and her younger brother Ian deeply. Yep succeeds in showing Robin's alternating frustration with and sympathy toward Ian. To escape these family troubles, Robin and her grandmother agree to help a lonely, gifted cook by pretending to be his lost family from China. Robin's need to feel loved by a parent is confounded by her failing attempts at playing the "dutiful daughter." Her limited experience in traditional Chinese culture and shifting adolescent angst keep her from succeeding in her role. Yet through her visits to San Francisco's Chinatown, Robin begins to take pride in her dormant Chinese identity and serendipitously discovers a lively woman in her grandmother. In this second tale of Robin Lee, Yep illuminates the emotional and psychological isolation that adolescent egocentrism so often invokes, regardless of cultural identity. Ribbons introduced Robin to the horrors of the centuries-old tradition of footbinding that existed in most of China until relatively recently. Here she gets a glimpse into the complexities of immigration. Neither of these issues are described in depth, but rather are mentioned only briefly, at arm's length, as if Yep would have Robin dancing a pas de deux with the social history of her ethnicity. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7Robin's home life seems to be falling apart. Her hard-working Caucasian father is often absent and her Chinese mother spends all of her spare time doing the books for her brothers' new store. There is little time for the family to be together, and Robin and her younger brother feel neglected. Therefore, when a waiter at a San Francisco Chinatown restaurant asks Robin and her grandmother to pose as the long-lost relatives of the lonely cook, the girl finds herself more and more interested in Chinese customs and what it means to be a good Chinese daughter. Dividing her time between her real family and her pretend one, she finally learns how to be expansive instead of divisive and helps her family come closer together. The remarkable charade that is at the heart of this book may seem unbelievable, but the author's note at the end of the novel reveals just how realistic it is. Elements of the characters and plot at times seem overdone, almost slapstick, and strain readers' trustyet these facets are always in tune with the bittersweet family setting Yep creates. The sense of place is immediate, showing acutely the differences between Chinatown and Robin's Richmond District neighborhood, and among several different Chinese-American cultures. This is a fun story, populated by the characters from Ribbons (Putnam, 1996), and a unique one that will appeal to readers on several levels.Nina Lindsay, Vista School, Albany, CA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780698118041
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/30/1999
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 690L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.53 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2002

    It was really good

    It was really good! It was as good as Harry Potter! And u learn stuff from it too!!

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