Spring Pearl Doll & Book

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Winner of an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award (2002)

China, 1857

Twelve-year-old Chou Spring Pearl’s life is changing. Her parents have died, and she must leave her home to live with the family of wealthy Master Sung. Unlike most Cantonese girls, Spring Pearl™ has learned to read and write, but she must now learn a new skill—how to survive in Master Sung’s hostile household. While the Second Opium War rages in the streets and harbor of Canton, Spring Pearl faces battles of her own.

As Chou Spring Pearl walks across Canton and into her new life in Master Sung’s household, she is wearing an exquisite, one-of-a-kind aoku (ow-kue), or tunic and trousers. The rich pink and green silk is embroidered with camellias, a symbol of spring and a clever play on Spring Pearl’s name. Tiny frogs, or knots, hold the jacket closed.

Spring Pearl’s mother sewed the aoku especially for her daughter, one of the last things she made before she died. When 12-year-old Spring Pearl™ wears it, she feels her mother’s love still surrounding her, warming her and keeping her safe.

Spring Pearl pins her unruly hair back with elegant green dragonfly and teardrop hairpins. In silk platform shoes, embroidered to match her outfit, it’s easy to see that her feet are not bound, as was the custom for Chinese girls. In fact, Master Sung’s daughters tease Spring Pearl about the unladylike size of her feet. But when the time comes to save both herself and the Sung family, Spring Pearl is grateful for both her big feet and her freedom.

Your 9-inch Spring Pearl doll arrives on a stand and comes with a Spring Pearl: The Last Flower paperback book by Laurence Yep.

Spring Pearl’s aoku (ow-kue) has no pockets, so she carries small items in an embroidered drawstring bag. Her simple jade bracelets—all her artist parents could afford—are symbols of good luck.

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