Hardcover, 32 pages, 8.5x11, English
by Yong-sheng Xuan
Aesop may be the most well-known teller of animal fables, but the Chinese people have been featuring animals in their proverb stories for centuries. Each profound yet simple saying has a story behind it, and each of the five stories collected here feature animals that help readers shed light on the truths of human nature. From the lazy farmer who hopes his food will come to him to the Sheriff who claims to love dragons only to hide his own fear, these proverbs are used in everyday Chinese life to illustrate moments of humor or clarity in our actions. Intricately and delicately rendered paper-cut masterpieces illustrate each proverb with vibrant and expressive hues, while the stories areprinted in both English and Chinese. Every reader, young or old, can appreciate the meticulously detailed artwork and gentle humor that makes each story both poignant and profound.
From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-Images constructed of cut paper and collage embellish the artist's bilingual versions of stories connected with five familiar Chinese sayings. The sayings teach various lessons. A lazy farmer starves while idly waiting for good luck to repeat itself. A musician learns to play what is appropriate to his audience. A crane and clam engage in a battle of wills that both lose. An old horse, using its long memory, leads a general's army home. A man's professed love of dragons reveals itself to be deep-rooted fear. The proverbs mentioned in the title are printed only in Chinese. The English text does not translate them as short, pithy sayings, but instead amplifies each well-known proverb with stories that read like fables. Bilingual source notes referring to specific works of Chinese literature are appended. Xuan provides modern adaptations of traditional Chinese paper cuts that are striking but somewhat cold. He employs a different style and different materials for each fable. While the book may be useful in bilingual classrooms, in schools where Chinese culture is studied intensively, or in public libraries where patrons read Chinese, the text is not gripping enough, or the art engaging enough, for wider purchase.
Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This striking picture book, illustrated with intricately designed Chinese-style paper-cuts, includes five proverbial stories--"The Lazy Farmer," "The Crane and the Clam," "The Musician and the Water Buffalo," "An Old Horse," and "The Dragon Lover." Each tale is presented in both English and Chinese; the writing style is straightforward and direct, though the vocabulary may be a stretch for very young listeners. Xuan makes use of several color schemes and borders to vary his artwork. The most remarkable, found in "The Crane and the Clam," employs full-color paper-cuts displayed against a white textured background (meant to simulate a sandy beach) set off against a black outer frame. Source notes for each story are appended; a clear plastic jacket and carefully designed endpapers add to the book's appeal. Demi's A Chinese Zoo
(1987) also offers proverbs (for a slightly younger audience), but Xuan's presentation will be welcomed, especially for its bilingual approach. Kay Weisman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.