Yee, Paul. Illus. by Chan, Harvey. 1996. 32p. Douglas & Mcintyre/ Groundwood; dist. by Publishers Group West, $15.95 (0-88899-257-2).
Gr. 3-5. Dark, glowing oil paintings illustrate a moving fantasy about the Chinese workmen who died far from home building the railroad through the mountains of North America. The story, first published in Canada, is told through the eyes of a young girl, Choon-yi, born to poor peasants in southern China. She has only one arm, and her mother rejects her, but her father loves her dearly and encourages her artistic gift. When she is 12, he leaves for America to work on the railway being built through the mountains. After two years he sends her money to join him, but when she gets there, she learns of his death. He appears to her in a dream and asks her to paint him on the train he built. The full-page paintings show her traveling on the hurtling engines; we see the power of the railroad and the sorrow of the men who died building it, their clothing stained with mud and blood. This is a book to use with Rhoda Blumberg's Full Steam Ahead: The Race to Build the Transcontinental Railroad [BKL Je 1 & 15 96].