Review Blog

Jul 08 2014

Chook Chook: Saving the Farm by Wai Chim

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UQP, 2014. ISBN 9780702253164.
(Age: 9-11) Highly recommended. Chook Chook: Saving the Farm is the third in Wai Chim's series dealing with the life of young Mei in a rural Chinese village. The story opens with beautiful descriptions of the colours, food and excitement as the family prepares for the celebration of New Year, giving insight into the Chinese cultural traditions that are an important part of Mei's life and contribute to her sense of belonging.
While Mei has settled comfortably into her new life, coming to terms with her mother's remarriage, her stepfather and stepbrother living in her home and her beloved brother's departure to the city her life is thrown into upheaval again by the demands and impact of a rapidly developing society. The story leads the reader through the tumultuous emotions experienced by Mei as she refuses to ignore the injustice she feels at the treatment, by authority, of her village and the family farm.
Mei continues as a feisty proactive character who is both resourceful and intelligent. She refuses to be beaten down by powerful government officials who do not understand the importance of her traditional village and life style to the people who belong there. Mei is challenged and confused by her brother Guo's ambivalence towards the traditional farming methods used by Mei's family as he is introduced to modern farming methods through his study. He is also exposed to the ridicule and put downs of city folks who sneer at those who live in rural communities.
Mei works with both friends and family to find a way to protect both her village and family farm. A successful solution is found and again Mei's pet chickens, Little and Lo contribute to the solution, but not quite in the way Mei expected.
These books have been avidly read by students' aged 9 - 11 years, a number of whom are excited by the release of the new story.
Karen Mutton

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