by Alison Lloyd
Holiday House, 2010. 195 pgs. Fiction
Two boys become unlikely friends in this exciting story from second century China. Li Hu helps his parents run their noodle shop next to the Great Wall, but likes it better when he and his family perform as acrobats. But when Commander Zheng and the Tiger Battalion show up at the Emperor's command to repair the Great Wall before the Barbarians swarm through, Hu's life changes dramatically. He and the commander's son meet by accident and secretly practice together to enter an archery contest, but greater things are afoot as the boys are driven apart and then join forces again as they try to outsmart and then outrun the Barbarians to save their families and their country. With appealing protagonists, a nicely atmospheric sense of Chinese culture and society, and an exciting story, Year of the Tiger is a fine story for young people who like stories from far away and long ago.