Cover image for The case of the Goblin Pearls
The case of the Goblin Pearls
Yep, Laurence, 1948-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, [1997]

Physical Description:
x, 179 pages ; 21 cm.
Lily and her aunt, a Chinese American movie actress, join forces to solve the theft of some priceless pearls and stop the operator of a sweatshop in San Francisco's Chinatown.
Reading Level:
780 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.3 6.0 15818.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.8 8 Quiz: 01893.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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What would you do if your famous movie-star aunt asked you to be a jar of ointment in Chinatown's New Year's parade? And what if disaster struck in the middle of the parade and someone stole the priceless Goblin Pearls right in front of you? Worse still, what if your great-aunt still thought she was the famous action heroine Tiger Lil and decided to catch the thieves? What else could you do but become her sidekick?

Lily is excited when Auntie Tiger Lil comes to San Francisco to arrange the Lion Salve float and marching unit for the New Year's parade. Most famous for the Tiger Lil series of action movies, she's now dabbling in publicity, and the Lion Salve account could finance her movie comeback. The float is sure to be the centerpiece of the parade, especially since Miss Lion Salve will be wearing the ancient Goblin Pearls that day.

The Goblin Pearls have always been trouble, and the day of the parade is no exception. When they're stolen in broad daylight, Tiger Lil isn't about to let some punks ruin her plans -- if the cops can't catch the thieves, she will. But everything is not what it seems, and Tiger Lil and Lily soon find themselves in the middle of a plot worthy of one of Auntie's movies. Will this be the end of Tiger Lil and her trusty sidekick, or will they live to sleuth another day?

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. 5-7. Part comic detective story, part docunovel about San Francisco's Chinese American community, this story is told in the voice of 12-year-old Lily Lew. When her lively Auntie Tiger Lil comes to stay, Lily learns about her aunt's historic Hollywood career and is drawn into taking part in the New Year parade in Chinatown, where a set of priceless pearls is stolen. As Lily and her aunt trace the thieves, the trail leads to an insurance scam and a sweatshop of exploited immigrant women. The mystery is solved through clumsy contrivance, and the various parts of the story don't always fit well together: chatty jokes during a sweatshop riot and fire? More interesting is Lily's discovery of her Chinese American roots in all their diversity, her growing awareness of how she has tried to reject the JOJ (Just Off the Jet) types. It is didactic, but the message is leavened with humor and dramatized in Lily's close relationship with her irrepressible aunt. Many readers will recognize their own mixture of shame and pride in family and culture. (Reviewed January 1 & 15, 1997)0060244445Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

Yep (The Khan's Daughter, reviewed above) is off to a roaring start with this launch to a mystery series set in San Francisco's Chinatown. As it begins, 12-year-old Lily's glamorous great-aunt ("Tiger Lil") comes to visit from Hollywood. A whirlwind of energy, the 60-something former film star ropes Lily and her family and friends into helping with a float she's been hired to organize for the Chinese New Year parade. In the process, Lily learns a great deal about her personal and cultural heritage, and she and her "auntie" help unravel an insurance scam involving a stolen pearl necklace, as well as uncover a sweatshop operation at which the mother of one of Lily's school friends is haplessly employed. Snappy dialogue, realistic characterizations and a plot with lots of action keep the pages turning, and the layers of social relevance (the sweatshop story line; Lily's growing realization of the complexities of her Chinese heritage) add substance. Readers will look forward to more installments featuring this spunky heroine-not to mention her wisecracking auntie. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8‘Lily's Auntie Tiger Lil comes to stay with the girl's family while organizing a float for the Chinese New Year's parade in San Francisco. A street gang called the Powell Street Boys threatens to disrupt the parade and steal the "Goblin Pearls" worn by Miss Lion Salve, and so sets the scene for the suspense. Although too many characters are introduced and not fully developed, this first title in a new series has real possibilities. The two heroines, Tiger Lil, a fading Hollywood star, and her niece and namesake, Lily, carry the story. The mystery involves the pearls, Chinatown, and a local sweatshop called "Happy Fortune." The bad guys aren't obvious right off the bat, but clue follows clue as events unfold and even though Lily doesn't intend to get involved, she is the one who pieces the truth together. There is a lot of culturally specific material nicely introduced as Lily discovers her heritage and makes connections at the same time that readers do. Some of the unfairness of the sweatshop seems overly dramatized, especially when the workers are so kind as to share their nearly nonexistent wages with a stranger. But there are some nice touches, such as tidbits left hanging in the air for youngsters to puzzle over before being explained. With enough fun and intrigue to keep the pages turning, this is a worthwhile series title.‘Carol A. Edwards, Minneapolis Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.