Emma Chan-McDougal receives a special gift from her Auntie Gracie: a rag doll named Raggedy Chan. But Raggedy Chan is no ordinary doll. She is a beautiful Chinese princess who lives in a jasper palace on the enchanted isle of Kunlun. The peace of her island home is threatened when Drought Fury steals Winged Dragon, bringer of rain. Without Winged Dragon, Kunlun will wither and die.
To save her stricken homeland, Raggedy Chan sets forth alone. Her quest leads her to America, where she meets people who distrust her because she’s different. Can Raggedy Chan adapt to the strange ways of this new land and rescue her beloved dragon?
In this modern fairy tale, Chinese-American author Camille Picott draws on her heritage to weave a story of magic, adventure, and sacrifice.
Raggedy Chan is a charming fable with a serious message. The author has based this book on her own life–she was that Chinese-American little girl who learned about her history and who was given her very own Raggedy Chan.
The story is actually two stories in one: Auntie Grace comes to take care of Emma and instructs her in her Chinese heritage. At the same time, she tells the fable of the Princess Yao-Chi and how she saved her country and became Raggedy Chan. Through the fable, she also instructs Emma in how sometimes people are unkind to others who are different.
The story teaches without being preachy–and the language, especially as the fable is being told, is absolutely beautiful. It’s short enough for an adult to read it in one sitting. There are several short chapters and some of the terminology (notably in the part of the story that tells about Raggedy Chan) may need explanations to the youngest readers. All in all, though, this was a book I will be buying for my own grandchildren.