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Beyond the Moongate: True Stories of 1920s China
     

Beyond the Moongate: True Stories of 1920s China

by Elizabeth Quan
 

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MOONGATES DOTTED THE LANDSCAPE OF OLD CHINA. Ancient Chinese architects had sculpted stone piled on sculpted stone to form round doorways, with the spiritual symbolism of the full moon. To step through one of these doorways was to step into a world of peace and happiness....

And so it was in the 1920s that the Lee King family - father, mother, and six children,

Overview

MOONGATES DOTTED THE LANDSCAPE OF OLD CHINA. Ancient Chinese architects had sculpted stone piled on sculpted stone to form round doorways, with the spiritual symbolism of the full moon. To step through one of these doorways was to step into a world of peace and happiness....

And so it was in the 1920s that the Lee King family - father, mother, and six children, aged ten months to seven years - traveled from their home in Canada, across the Pacific Ocean, to inland China. There, they had the opportunity to step beyond the moongate into a land not yet touched by modern warfare or political unrest.

The story of the moongate, tells of the two "golden" years the family spent with Grandmother in a remote village in the south, which hadn't changed for centuries.

Step inside and live the long lazy days of a China forever gone. The moongate beckons....

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Anecdotal paintings and reminiscences of two childhood years spent in China, by an artist now in her 90s … Quan recalls 17 experiences or incidents during the stay…. It’s a sunny picture, but there are references to the real dangers of pirates and brigands, as well as a comment about the author’s beloved Popo (grandmother) walking to church on bound feet. These, along with a final parting made particularly poignant … warm, humorous and engaging overall.”
Kirkus Reviews

“. . . [A] delightful memoir . . . The watercolour artwork in this book is vibrant and animated and gives depth and energy to the story.”
– Highly Recommended, CM Magazine

“… The book is beautifully designed…. A tender remembrance that will reach today’s readers.”
Booklist
 

School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—A sequel to Once Upon a Full Moon (Tundra, 2007), this collection of memories recalls the two years Quan's Chinese-Canadian family spent living with her grandmother in China. Each memory is told on a spread, with a few paragraphs of text and a full-page watercolor painting. These recollections are largely disjointed and incomplete. For instance, in "Chinese School," Quan mentions that she ranked almost last in her class. She states that "Papa could not have been proud of me. I so hoped that Buddha and Kwan Yin…would look down on me… with understanding and sympathy!" But the story ends there, so readers don't know how her father actually reacted. The flap copy and introduction are especially problematic, promising a "China forever gone" where "life hasn't changed for centuries." These nostalgic tales do little to address the great upheaval and change created by the political and economic realities of the time. When things such as bandits and pirates are mentioned, they are treated as a fun adventure instead of the terrorizing forces they were. While children such as Quan might not have realized the realities of the situation, or what was happening outside their compound, this lack of information greatly lessens the value of the book for modern readers.—Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Anecdotal paintings and reminiscences of two childhood years spent in China, by an artist now in her 90s. Following up Once Upon a Full Moon (2007), an account of her family's journey from Canada to Kwangtung province, Quan recalls 17 experiences or incidents during the stay. These include feasting on New Year's Day ("Mama steamed a whole chicken inside a winter melon and made sweet red and green bean paste…"), gathering to watch a teen relative take a bucket shower ("We all laughed with glee"), and welcoming both a new piglet and, later, a new baby brother. Opposite each memory, a full-page, loosely brushed watercolor in a naïve style adds both cultural and comical notes with depictions of small, active or intent figures in village dress and settings. It's a sunny picture, but there are references to the real dangers of pirates and brigands, as well as a comment about the author's beloved Popo (grandmother) walking to church on bound feet. These, along with a final parting made particularly poignant since the baby, being foreign-born, had to be left in China for several years, keep it from becoming a sugary nostalgiafest. A fragmentary memoir, but warm, humorous and engaging overall. (afterword, with photo of Popo) (Illustrated memoir. 6-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781770493834
Publisher:
Tundra
Publication date:
03/12/2013
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
7.20(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Elizabeth Quan is a Canadian watercolorist active in the art scene both nationally and internationally, and has been for over 25 years. She is known for her vital and organic impressionistic works which are included in hundreds of private and corporate collections. She was the last protégé of Jack Pollock. Elizabeth holds a BA in East Asian studies from the University of Toronto, and was connected with the Chinese Gallery at the Royal Ontario Museum for six years. She has published three books including: Quan, My Life My Art, and The Immortal Poet of the Milo — three Chinese puppet plays. She was an active puppeteer for many years. She is widowed with three grown daughters and lives in Toronto.

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