In the Leaves

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Overview

A striking book that introduces children to written Chinese characters

On a beautiful autumn day, Xiao Ming and his friends take a trip to a farm. Xiao Ming can’t wait to show everyone the new Chinese characters he has learned, and his friends are just as excited to see them.

Children will be delighted to follow along as Xiao Ming explains how to read ten Chinese characters, and they’ll be pleased as they ...

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Overview

A striking book that introduces children to written Chinese characters

On a beautiful autumn day, Xiao Ming and his friends take a trip to a farm. Xiao Ming can’t wait to show everyone the new Chinese characters he has learned, and his friends are just as excited to see them.

Children will be delighted to follow along as Xiao Ming explains how to read ten Chinese characters, and they’ll be pleased as they begin to discover the beauty—and logic—of one of the oldest picture languages in the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
As she has done in her three previous books, Lee uses a simple story to introduce written Chinese characters. Here she sets her tale in the fall, so she has now covered all four seasons in her books. Young Xiao Ming is going to visit a farm with his mother and some friends. As they observe the harvesting of grain, the vegetables in the fields, the pigs, he shows how the Chinese characters relate and interrelate to the words they represent. Then it is time for lunch and his favorite food, rice. Lee uses cut-paper collage to create very attractive and thoughtfully-designed double-page scenes. She exploits the various patterns and textures of rice papers for backgrounds and other papers for the people and other objects. The simplified farm scenes are invested with the youthful vitality of the youngsters. Lee demonstrates how the calligraphy symbols take their shapes from the natural objects in effective and esthetically pleasing ways. There is a pronunciation guide as well. 2005, Henry Holt and Company, Ages 5 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 4-On a dazzling autumn day, Xiao Ming's mother takes him and his friends to visit a farm. There, the child shows his friends the beauty and fun of writing Chinese characters by drawing them in the dirt for the things they see. The story unfolds while gracefully showing the relationships between actual objects and the characters used to represent them. As Xiao Ming draws the symbol for grain next to the one for mouth, he tells his friends that it creates the word for harmony. "I am always happy to have lots to eat, just like I'm happy to have lots of good friends to eat with." The splendid cut-paper collages portray the action while illustrating the origin and history of the characters described. As Xiao Ming explains fire, depicted by two sticks together, the illustrations show farmers in the field building a fire. Together the art and text create a picture of Chinese writing that is easy to understand and leaves readers eager to create their own characters.-Rebecca Sheridan, Easttown Library & Information Center, Berwyn, PA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Lee finishes the seasonal round begun with At the beach (1994) by taking a group of children to a farm in autumn, giving young Xiao Ming a chance to introduce the Chinese characters for "grain," "fire" and eight other nouns to his friends (and readers). The plot is never more than a pretext, but Lee's neat cut-paper collages, done with a mix of patterned and textured materials in warm browns and golds, capture that autumnal look and provide subtle, effective visual mnemonics for each letterform. As in previous outings, tables of the characters, English equivalents and approximate pronunciations sandwich this pleasant, painless peek at another language and orthography. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805067644
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.78 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Huy Voun Lee was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and moved to the United States in 1975. She has written and illustrated several other books on Chinese character writing. She lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2005

    THOUGHTFULLY CONCEIVED AND BEAUTIFULLY ILLUSTRATED

    With this thoughtfully conceived and beautifully illustrated book artist/author Huy Voun Lee completes her seasonal cycle of stories about Chinese characters. 'In The Leaves,' which focuses on autumn, is preceded by 'At The Beach,' 'In The Snow,' and 'In The Park.' With her latest story we are once again introduced to ten Chinese characters as Xiao Ming (which is pronounced Schow Ming in Mandarin Chinese) and his friends visit a farm. Xiao Ming is excited to tell his friends about what he has learned, and the fact that writing Chinese characters is very much like drawing pictures. For instance, the Chinese character for 'grain' looks very much like a tree with roots digging into the ground. There is a head on top that represents ripe grain. The Chinese character for fire looks very much like a campfire. Thus, young readers learn that Chinese characters are not only beautiful, but they also make sense. These four books by Huy Voun Lee are both educational and fun. In addition, they give youngsters an appreciation of another culture. As more and more we become a global community it's an important lesson for them to learn. - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2005

    Fun and easy-to-follow for children

    Children love visual pleasure, and learning the picture-language of Chinese is a fun excercise. It also serves as an introduction to diversity for the young minds. A great book.

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