Review Blog

Oct 24 2017

Two enchanted tales from old China retold by Gabrielle Wang

cover image

Ill. by David Allan. Christmas Press, 2017. ISBN 9780994528025
(Age: 6-8) A must have for the library. In the starry heavens two young people fall in love, only to be parted. A lonely mistreated girl finds herself at a ball in a dress made of silk . . .
Two beautiful, magical tales from China, The Weaver Girl and the Cowherd and The Magic Fishbones enchantingly retold by Gabrielle Wang and elegantly illustrated by David Allan.
The book contains two entertaining tales accompanied by beautiful illustrations. The Weaver Girl and the Cow Herd, is about two stars in the heavens that fall in love. The granddaughter of the Heavenly Empress, Zhinu, the weaver girl, is responsible for separating the two lovers. Niulng is sent to the land of mortals where he finds himself in a farming family, having no memory of the past. However he does feel a connection with the stars. Niulng's loyal Ox is not ordinary and he finds himself guided by its wisdom in search of a bride.
The Magic Fish Bones is set in Chin, an ancient country where Ye Xian was a slave to her stepmother and stepsister after her father dies. I hear voices drawing similarities to Cinderella. However, this story stands alone on its own merit with a totally different ending. Ye Xian has a fish with golden scales which she loves and tends too. As the fish grows too big, she releases it into a nearby pond. Each day Ye Xian calls the fish to the edge of the pond and gives it treats. Her dreadful stepmother kills the fish, but Ye Xian realises the bones are magic.
I can see these Chinese traditional tales fitting in beautifully with units about Ancient Civilisations. They are presented in easy to understand language - although the sentences are long and descriptive. These tales will entertain children from six years old and up. These stories will linger and would appeal to 6 - 8 years although they are in picture book form. The sentences are long and detailed. A must have for the library that will sit nicely on the shelf alongside other books in the series.
Kathryn Schumacher

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