by Jeanne M. Lee

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This stark tale won't appeal to everyone, but it will leave a strong impression on all who read it. The story takes place in Viet Nam, where ``It was Thanh-Mihn Day and for the first time Nan would be going with her family and relatives to visit the graves of her ancestors.'' At the graveyard, Nan meets Ba-Nam, the keeper of the ancestors' graves. Nan finds the twisted, wrinkled old woman, whose teeth and nails are painted black, frighteningindeed, most readers will share Nan's reaction. But more terror is in store, for Nan and her brother get lost in a slashing rainstorm. When at last they find their way back to the cemetery, the children narrowly escape being hit by lightning; it is Ba-Nam who rushes to their rescue. For those with steady nerves, Ba-Nam provides a powerful insight into another culture. Ages 5-8. (May)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-4 On Thanh-Minh Day in Vietnam, families visit the graves of their ancestors and honor them with offerings and remembrances. In this unusual picture book, Nan and her cousin Keung visit the cemetery on this special day and meet Ba-Nam, the wizened graveskeeper, who frightens the young girl. The children become lost in the woods near the graveyard during a storm, but Ba-Nam comes and leads them to safety. The next day the children pick up fallen fruit, and Nan gives her new friend an armload of mangoes. The illustrations, which are mainly in oranges and blacks, are flat and similar to Lee's earlier spare style for The Legend of the Milky Way (Holt, 1982) in that the figures are awkwardly drawn. The story itself, which mentions that the ancestors' spirits are in the graveyard, contains some macabre elements (such as hundreds of bats flying over the children). Children interested in Vietnamese cultural traditions would be better served by Muriel Stanek's We Came from Vietnam (Albert Whitman, 1985), which explains the tradition in a more reassuring way. Lorraine Douglas, Winnipeg Public Library, Manitoba, Canada

Product Details

Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

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