Lady White Snake: A Tale From Chinese Opera

Lady White Snake: A Tale From Chinese Opera

by Aaron Shepard, Song Nan Zhang
     
 

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Children's Literature
Many years ago a white snake and a blue snake disguised as young ladies arrive in the Chinese city of Hangzhou to see what it would be like to be human. Lady White falls in love with a man named Xu Xian and marries him. An old Buddhist monk, Fahai, warns Xu Xian that his wife is really a white snake and tells him to make Lady White drink a glass of wine at the Dragon Boat Festival; if she does, she will revert to her true form. When Lady White turns back into a snake, Xu Xian collapses, and Lady White pledges to save his life with a magical mushroom. Later Xu Xian, finally certain of his wife's true love, no matter her form, is reunited with her until tragedy befalls the couple. A retelling of one of China's most popular operas, the story includes extensive notes about the White Snake legend, and the elaborate and colorful illustrations effectively capture the tragic love story. 2001, Pan Asian Publications, $16.95. Ages 8 to 12. Reviewer: Valerie O. Patterson
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-Shepard and Zhang present a tale from Chinese traditional literature in the form most Chinese would know it-as an opera performance. Shepard's text, written in vivid, engaging prose, tells the tragic tale of an immortal white snake that is transformed into a lovely woman in search of love. With her companion blue snake, she visits the beautiful West Lake in Hangzhou and meets a handsome, caring young man, an orphan without prospects. They marry and live happily until a zealous monk interferes. Then Lady White must call on a host of immortals to help her fight for her own life as well as her husband's. Lady White and Blue prove to be formidable women warriors. Zhang's illustrations, depicting characters dressed in opera costumes and makeup, yet acting against naturalistic settings, recall the many opera movies made in Chinese film studios. Zhang's color work and skill in composition perfectly complement the dramatic, action-packed text. Versions of "The White Snake" appear in Yin-lien Chin's Traditional Chinese Folktales (M. E. Sharpe, 1989) or Tao Tao Liu Sanders's Dragons, Gods & Spirits from Chinese Mythology (Schocken, 1983; o.p.). Shepard identifies specific translations of one particular libretto as the source for his retelling. This picture-book version of a famous Chinese story cast in a unique Chinese art form offers American children an authentic encounter with this rich and ancient culture.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781572270725
Publisher:
Pan Asian Publications (USA)
Publication date:
09/01/2001
Pages:
36
Product dimensions:
8.88(w) x 11.24(h) x 0.34(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

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