Children's Fiction




Milioto, Virginia. (1989). The Mask & Other Stories. Hong Kong: Longman.

This is a book of four stories about four boys: fourteen year old Simon Woo, Ken Barker from Australia,  and Louisand Tom who are both deaf. 

“The Mask”

One evening in Tsim Sha Tsui, Simon and Ken see two deaf boys, Louis and Tom, using sign language inside Pizza Hut.  After dinner, they run into them again inside a toy shop.  All of a sudden, four masked men rush in to rob the shop.  After the robbery, the four boys become friends.  They watch a film together, and go to a disco afterwards.  Inside the disco, Tom spots the robber who has a dark spot on his lip.  The boys follow the robber to the airport and report the case to the police, and they are brought home in a police car, ending an adventurous day.

“Animal Tales”

Simon, Ken, and their Japanese friend Mitchiko visit Mai Po Marshes one October afternoon.  They hear a mynah bird repeating the phrase “5792410 Yei Sau,” which sounds like a telephone number and the name of a pet shop.  On the late news that evening, there is a report about a murder near Mai Po.  The children wonder if the mynah bird is connected to the murder.  They visit the “Yei Sau” pet shop in Fanling, and learn that the shop sells animal skins illegally.  Mitchiko calls the pet shop and places an order for panda skins, Simon steals the money from Mitchiko’s father’s office, and Louis and Simon hand the money to the pet shop.  They tell the Police all hat has happened, and the Police return the money to Mitchiko’s father after arresting the smugglers and murderers.  Mitchiko and Louis decide to give part of their reward money to the World Wildlife Fund and Mai Po; Simon wants to buy a mynah bird so that he can teach it how to talk.

“Stage Fright”

Ken is chosen by his teacher at school to participate in a television quiz show.  Simon helps him prepare for the quiz by going through a comprehensive list of questions.  Ken’s family and friends are given tickets to watch the show in the studio.  Simon, Louis and his sister Annie are allowed to sit in front of the stage when the usher is told that Louis is deaf. Ken has stage fright and  fails to press his button even once to answer a question although he knows the answers.  Louis makes signs hoping to remind Ken.  Soon Ken recovers from his stage fright and answers the most difficult question correctly and wins the quiz.

“Computer Friends”

Ken is very interested in computers.  He finds that he can send messages to other computers through the telephone line, and he loves his conversations with Frances online.  They become friends and talk about everything, but they haven’t   met each other, and so Ken wants to know what Frances looks like. Knowing that Frances will be in Sham Shui Po on Sunday to buy a computer game, Ken waits around the shop until Frances appears.  When he sees two girls about his age, one pushing the other in a wheelchair, asking for a computer game, he thinks that the girl in the wheelchair is Frances’s sister.  He later discovers that Frances is the girl in wheelchair, and he asks Frances out for pizza. (FC)

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