Girl power times seven can defeat even a curmudgeonly old dragon in Kathy Tucker’s retelling of a folk tale with Grace Lin’s wonderful illustrations. The Seven Chinese Sisters are a talented bunch of apparently orphaned girls who wear beautiful blue embroidered Chinese dresses and kick some butt when the occasion calls for it. These girls have numbers, not names, and each has perfected a skill or talent that will come in very handy when the chips are down. A hungry dragon probably qualifies as time to haul out the big guns.
First sister rides a mean scooter, second sister is a karate expert, third sister is a math wizard, fourth sister speaks to animals–dogs fluently, everything else just a little, fifth sister is an outfielder, sixth sister is a master chef and seventh sister, the baby, is an excellent baby. So, starving giant lizard catches a whiff of dinner from the house of the exalted seven and decides to chow down. But, when he arrives at the cottage with the tantalizing noodle soup aromas he finds an even more tantalizing tidbit called seventh sister and grabs her instead.
The baby is no fool. She decides to learn to speak all at once so she hollers HELP! and the chase is on. Each sister must use her particular skill to rescue the little chatterbox who sends out just the right words to keep the dragon at bay and her rescue operation on track. The girls are unruffled and pragmatic. They are extremely competent and focused on their goal. The kid makes it home in time to have her diaper changed and there’s more to this story but why spoil it? The illustrations are simple and appealing. And it is an empowering multicultural story about young girls with lots of affection, self-confidence and even a bit of compassion for a greedy dragon.
The Seven Chinese Sisters Kathy Tucker, Grace Lin | Albert Whitman & Company 2003