Water Ghost

Water Ghost

by Ching Yeung Russell, Christopher Zhong-Yuan Zhang, Christopher Z. Zhang

Boyds Mills Press publishes a wide range of high-quality fiction and nonfiction picture books, chapter books, novels, and nonfiction


Boyds Mills Press publishes a wide range of high-quality fiction and nonfiction picture books, chapter books, novels, and nonfiction

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Ten year old Ying is eager to earn enough money to be able to attend her first school camp-out. With the help of her understanding grandma, who teaches her how to make and sell bamboo chicken fences, she succeeds, but in a way that she did not anticipate. This exciting, well-written autobiographical novel is a sequel to First Apple. The author does a wonderful job of introducing us to the customs, beliefs and daily activities of a girl living in an extended family in southern China during the 1940s. The story is multicultural writing at its best. Realistic, black and white drawings add to the book's appeal.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
In a series of 3 books, Ching Yeung Russell writes about growing up in China in the late 40's. Many of the incidents are based on her family's stories. Beginning with First Apple continuing on with Water Ghost and now Lichee Tree, readers develop an appreciation for life in a Chinese village and the universality of growing up. Ying, 9, lives with her grandmother, Ah Pau, who always reminds Ying that no matter how bad things get, there will be a turning point. School problems, dealing with bullies, saving something precious only to have it destroyed or lost are common in every culture. Ying's approach to life reminds me of a Chinese Ramona.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-An intimate look at family and village life in southeastern China, approximately 50 years ago. Ying, 10, is raised by her beloved grandmother. Ah Pau is thrifty, wise, and firmly rooted in her culture's traditions and superstitions. She guides Ying and her cousins with a firm and loving hand. As in First Apple (Boyds Mills, 1994), in which the little girl was a year younger, Ying must raise an ambitious amount of money. This time, she must bargain with her mercenary cousin Kee, and deal with the class bully. Added to these burdens is the guilt she feels over the suicide of an orphaned, disabled classmate who was exposed as the perpetrator of a theft for which Ying had been accused. It is this guilt that causes Ying to spend the money she and Kee earned on a dead chicken that the classmate's grandmother is trying to sell. There is some awkwardness in the phrasing of the text. The English has a cadence reminiscent of Chinese, or of a beginner's translation of Chinese into English. Although this can be jarring to a sophisticated ear, it somehow increases the authenticity of this personal narrative and glimpse into another culture.-Carla Kozak, San Francisco Public Library
Lauren Peterson
Based on Russell's own childhood, this moving story continues the chronicle of life in 1940s China for Yeung Ying that began in "First Apple". Ying, now 10, is selling chicken fences to raise money to pay for a schoolwide camp-out. Heading home after a successful day at the market, she passes the poor, sick grandmother of a schoolmate who recently drowned--an incident that has haunted Ying because she feels partly responsible. Impulsively, Ying spends all her hard-earned money on a dead chicken the old woman is selling, leaving herself open to the wrath of her family and the cruel teasing of her schoolmates. Delicate illustrations in washes of gray tones are nicely interspersed throughout the compelling drama about a passionate protagonist. American youngsters will find Ying's thoughts and actions both foreign and familiar, fueled as they are by a combination of ancient Chinese superstitions and the universal need to fit in. A useful complement to a unit on China.

Product Details

Highlights Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.23(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.82(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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