Cover image for Spring Pearl : the last flower
Spring Pearl : the last flower
Yep, Laurence, 1948-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Middleton, Wis. : Pleasant Co. Publications, [2002]

Physical Description:
204 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 20 cm.
Called boyish by her new family for being able to read and write, twelve-year-old orphaned Spring Pearl's "odd ways" help save the family during the 1857 Opim War in Canton, China.
General Note:
"American girl."
Reading Level:
720 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.3 5.0 62899.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 5.2 10 Quiz: 32854 Guided reading level: T.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Series

On Order



After the deaths of her parents, Spring Pearl is taken in by her father's wealthy benefactor. Unlike most Cantonese girls, Spring Pearl knows how to read and write, but not what she must learn to survive in Master Sung's hostile household. Illustrations.

Author Notes

Laurence Yep was born in San Francisco, California on June 14, 1948. He graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1970 and received a Ph.D. in English from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

He primarily writes fiction for young adults, but has also written and edited several works for adults. His first novel, Sweetwater, was published in 1973. His other books include Dragonwings, Dragon's Gate, Shadow Lord, Child of the Owl, The Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, and The Dragon's Child: A Story of Angel Island. He has won numerous awards for his work including the Newbery Medal Honor Book, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-7. This title in the Girls of Many Lands series is set in 1857 in Canton, China, during the Opium Wars with Britain. Twelve-year-old Spring Pearl, recently orphaned, misses her parents and her home, though she knows she should be grateful to the wealthy Sung family for taking her in. Master Sung is kind, but his wife and daughters are condescending and rude, disapproving of Spring Pearl's independent ways. Spring Pearl perseveres, finding solace in reviving the Sungs' long-neglected garden. Then the British invade, the Sungs face dire consequences, and the orphan and the family must join together to protect their home and lives. Spring Pearl emerges as a likable character who follows her heart despite challenges, and her descriptive, first-person narrative is personable, often poignant, incorporating both humorous commentary and insightful observations about the events and people around her. Yep does a smooth job of working in historical detail, and there's an afterward describing girls' lives in China, past and present. As with other books in the series, this includes photos and an author's note. Shelle Rosenfeld

Publisher's Weekly Review

Part of the Girls of Many Lands series, this colorful novel introduces the spirited 12-year-old Chou Spring Pearl against the backdrop of Canton, China, during the Opium War of 1857. The recently orphaned girl has been liberally raised by her artist parents she can read and write and speak English but now she's a charity case, taken in by Master Sung, a wealthy friend of her father's. Life with Sung's arrogant wife and daughters (who call her "Miss Ratty" after her poor ghetto neighborhood) starts off rocky, but Spring Pearl rises to the challenge through strength of character, gradually earning the respect of the entire household. When Master Sung is arrested and imprisoned, Spring Pearl's courage and ingenuity help bring the family safely through the ordeal. Spring Pearl has a bit of both Cinderella (she's assigned menial chores at first) and Mary Lenox (she restores the Sungs' neglected garden), but she emerges a fully realized character. Offering his typically lively dialogue and strong supporting cast, Yep (Dragon's Gate) also integrates period detail into a well-honed plot. A "Then and Now" afterword draws on Yep's story to contrast conditions facing girls in 19th- century China with those today. Ages 9-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Spring Pearl is orphaned at age 12 after her mother dies of poverty and overwork. Because her father was a scholar and an artist, his patron, Master Sung, takes her in. She is not welcomed by his wife or daughters, but she endures. At her new home, she intimidates her hosts by speaking knowledgeably on scholarly topics and defeating the eldest son at chess and dominoes. In fact, her ability to read, write, and speak English is quite staggering. Nevertheless, this is 1857 in Canton, and the Chinese are struggling in the Opium War against Great Britain and France. When Master Sung is imprisoned for protesting extra taxes, Spring Pearl is the only one who can save him. Her good deeds win over Mistress Sung, who entrusts her with running the household. Amazingly, the child has friends among the British invaders and the looting Chinese thugs, and saves the Sung family at every turn. They open their arms to her as family, but she chooses freedom. Girls craving adventurous heroines will be drawn to the story, but it leans more toward historical fantasy than fiction.-Be Astengo, Alachua County Library, Gainesville, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.