Dream-of-Jade: The Emperor's Cat

Dream-of-Jade: The Emperor's Cat

by Lloyd Alexander, D. Brent Burkett
     
 

No ordinary man is permitted to see the great Kwan-Yu, emperor of China, but this doesn't stop the beautiful, green-eyed Dream-of-Jade, since she is not an ordinary man, but a rather unusual cat. When Dream-of-Jade decides she wants to see His Highness, she simply slips into the empty throne room and sits upon the imperial throne. When Kwan-Yu arrives, she does not

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Overview

No ordinary man is permitted to see the great Kwan-Yu, emperor of China, but this doesn't stop the beautiful, green-eyed Dream-of-Jade, since she is not an ordinary man, but a rather unusual cat. When Dream-of-Jade decides she wants to see His Highness, she simply slips into the empty throne room and sits upon the imperial throne. When Kwan-Yu arrives, she does not give up her seat, but does point out the dangerous state of the emperor’s ceiling. Thus begins the great friendship between an Emperor and a little white cat, who not only saves the emperor’s life at their first meeting, but knows how to cure his ailments, make him laugh, and entertain him, and whose greatest wish is to make Kwan-Yu the best emperor ever to rule China.

Lloyd Alexander has written this little masterpiece filled with details from ancient Chinese court life. With his sharp wit, tongue-in-cheek humor, and good-natured satire, he exposes the rigidity of ancient imperial customs and traditions. Dream-of-Jade’s no-nonsense solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems delight children and adults alike, making this tale an unforgettable reading adventure for the entire family.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Each of Alexander's (the Prydain Chronicles) five stories explores how the relationship between a talking cat, Dream-of-Jade, and Kwan-Yu, Celestial Emperor of China's Middle Kingdom, gradually frees the Emperor from his advisers' bureaucratic stranglehold. Perhaps best suited to newly independent readers, the tales (first published in Cricket magazine) range from eight to 11 pages, with a generous helping of illustrations breaking up lengthy chunks of text. The strongest of the stories leads off: "How Dream-of-Jade Looked at the Emperor" describes their initial meeting. Dream-of-Jade, "as curious as she was beautiful, and as determined as she was curious," defies custom, sits on the throne (where she notices loose ceiling tiles) and gazes directly at the Emperor's face. When the Emperor alerts his Chief Minister to this etiquette violation, the fellow responds: "Son of Heaven, your observation is highly illuminating. There does, in fact, appear to be a feline creature so situated and performing the ocular activity you have so graciously called to my unworthy attention." The Chief Minister calls for the cat's execution, but Dream-of-Jade leaps onto the Emperor just as the ceiling tiles fall, saving his life and winning his friendship. Thanks to Dream-of-Jade's valuable life lessons, the Emperor comes to discern when his counselors proffer officious, nonsensical guidance. Burkett (My Own Backyard) humorously illustrates the havoc the feline's advice wreaks (in one scene the Emperor, chasing a piece of string, upsets the entire kitchen) and captures the growing love between the wise cat and the perceptive Emperor who comes to appreciate her honesty. Ages 7-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-In a fictional ancient Chinese empire, a cat named Dream-of-Jade befriends the lonely and badly advised Celestial Emperor. First she saves his life by noticing that the neglected ceiling above his throne is about to collapse, and then she teaches him the invigorating effect of a bit of physical labor. Next she introduces him to laughter and playfulness. So, little by little, Dream-of-Jade intervenes between the Emperor and his courtiers, lifting the weight of stifling tradition and meaningless ceremony from his shoulders and allowing honesty and common sense to prevail. This handsome book is illustrated with graceful pencil-and-watercolor art that adds atmosphere and emotion to Alexander's ornate prose. Because the characters speak in highly stylized, stilted language-"There does, in fact, appear to be a feline creature so situated and performing the oracular activity you have so graciously called to my unworthy attention-."-the book is better suited as a read-aloud than for independent reading.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A savvy, sassy little cat causes quite a stir when she defies Chinese custom and law to teach the Emperor how to be a wise and happy ruler in this gentle, satiric tale of friendship. Kwan-Yu, Celestial Emperor of China and Embodiment of the Nine Heavenly Virtues, lives in lonely seclusion behind the walls of the Forbidden City. Burdened by boredom and duties, Kwan-Yu is at the mercy of his unimaginative, obsequious advisors until Dream-of-Jade, a white cat with green eyes, saunters into the sacred Throne Room and dares to sit on the Emperor's throne. When Dream-of-Jade protects Kwan-Yu from a falling ceiling tile, he rewards her with the title of Imperial Cat and their friendship takes off. Motivated by common sense and her wish to see Kwan-Yu "become the best of all rulers," Dream-of-Jade cleverly wriggles her way around imperial tradition to make her wish come true. Full-color impressionistic illustrations lavishly capture court life in ancient China as well as Dream-of-Jade's feline essence. Absolutely first-class storytelling with a remarkable little heroine. (Fiction. 7-10)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780812627367
Publisher:
Cricket Books
Publication date:
09/09/2005
Pages:
48
Sales rank:
731,351
Product dimensions:
8.16(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
8 - 10 Years

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