Book Review: Raggedy-Chan & Nine-Tail Fox

By Camille Picott

Raggedy-Chan, book 1 in the Chinese Heritage Tale series, is a charming, delightful, heart-warming, and imaginative story. Aunt Gracie wants to make sure her half-Chinese, half-American niece Emma knows her Chinese heritage, so she tells the story of Raggedy Chan, a Chinese Princess who travels to American to save her homeland of Kunlun.

The story is told throughout the day, in between aunt and niece making wontons, playing mahjong, and Emma learning how to use chopsticks. Aunt Gracie and little Emma are endearing characters and I loved how their day unfolds. The story of Raggedy Chan is one of courage, unselfishness, and determination. Winged Dragon has been stolen by Drought Fury, leaving Kunlun bereft of water. Yao-Chi, youngest daughter of the ruler of the land, follows them to America, but her arrival on American soil calls for the first of her sacrifices. She must give up her name (Yao-Chi is too difficult to pronounce). She sends her name back to her mother for safekeeping and becomes Raggedy Chan, and so begins her travels in America as she faces hardship and prejudice, and also unexpected help, on her selfless quest to return Winged Dragon to Kunlun.

Aunt Gracie gives Emma a Raggedy Chan dolll, and I would love on too. This is a fabulous read, which I heartily recommend for all ages. TOTP and I award 10 out of 10 Diamonds to Raggedy-Chan.

A Chinese Heritage Tale by Camille Picott

When fifth-grade Emma Chan-McDougal is ridiculed by her classmates for being part Chinese, she’s devastated. When she tells her aunt, Aunt Gracie responds with another story, this time of Ainu, the brave little Nine-Tail Fox who emigrates with her parents from China to San Francisco. When Chih Yu, an ancient demon who feeds off hatred, kills her mother on arrival in their new home, it is up to Ainu, as the last of her clan, to defend the Chinese animals from the demon. Unfortunately Chih Yu has riled up the American animals, specifically badgers, to attack Chinatown, so it is up to Ainu to find a way to save her people.

This is a nicely written enjoyable tale for younger readers. The author includes an ominous quote from the Workingman’s Party at the start of the book, showing the attitude some had towards Chinese immigrants to California at the time: We shall arm…California must be all American or all Chinese. We are resolved that it shall be American, and are prepared to make it so. (Denis Kearney and H.L.Kinight, President and Secretary of the Workingman’s Party 1878). The badgers fear that the Chinese animals will eat all their food, leaving them to starve, hence Chih Yu (American name Kearney) successfully plays on their fears for his own power. Although everything is resolved quite easily in the end, both for Ainu and for Emma, this story would serve as a good way of talking to young kids about prejudice and hatred for certain groups of people, often born out of irrational fears. Ainu’s mother tells her that the Truth is the weapon the Nine-Tails use to overcome Chih Yu’s lies, and this is a wonderful theme in the book also.

I have to confess I hadn’t heard of the Nine-Tail fox before, so I was happy to expand my knowledge of Chinese mythology. TOTP and I award Nine-Tail Fox 7 out of 10 Diamonds.

21 thoughts on “Book Review: Raggedy-Chan & Nine-Tail Fox

    1. Aw, thanks, Carol. Equally with your reviews :). We get little overlap across MMGM, I’m glad to say (and when we do, it’s really interesting to see how different things strike each reviewer!). Thanks for reading!


    1. My sister loved Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy when we were kids (my mother made the dolls for her, she still has them! 🙂 ). Poor Raggedy Chan has a much tougher time though… 🙂 Thanks for reading!


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