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Living in Beijing with their large, loving families, Little Leap Forward and Little-Little are the best of friends. One day clever Little-Little captures a small yellow bird that he gives to Little Leap Forward. Though Little Leap Forward plays his flute and tries to get Little Cloud to sing, she remains silent. When the terrible disruptions of the Cultural Revolution begin, Little Leap Forward senses the fear and sadness of his friends and family. And as their lives become more and more constricted, he begins to understand why he must release his precious bird if he wants to hear her sing. Based on Guo's childhood, this is a gentle, lyrical story, yet the undercurrents of change and loss are strong. Though the metaphor of the bird is part of the fabric of the tale, the author never becomes moralistic or didactic, and the horrors of the Revolution never overwhelm the story. Because of this, the novel is suitable for readers younger than those who might pick up Ji-Li Jiang's Red Scarf Girl (HarperCollins, 1997), Chun Yu's Little Green (S & S, 2005), or Moying Li's Snow Falling in Spring (Farrar, 2008). The afterword includes a brief, accessible explanation of the Cultural Revolution. As a final plus, the book is beautifully designed. Kites, an important element in the story, are used on the elegant endpapers, and numerous illustrations, full of jewel-toned colors, are scattered throughout. In every way, this is a book to savor.-Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA
Posted February 1, 2014
Little Leap Forward is a young boy living in Early Communist China. He and his friends have a pretty happy life. They fly homemade paper kites and play by the nearby river. They seem like they have a life that any kid would have. That is, until soldiers come and change everything! The soldiers want to get rid of “Old China” by burning and wrecking anything that reminds people of the way they used to live and to prepare for “New China”.
This is a great nonfiction autobiography that was written by Little Leap Forward himself! I learned a lot about China in this time period. Little Leap Forward (in the book) is a nice young boy who cares about nature and what is going on around him. I think I would enjoy meeting him. The illustrations are beautiful and well-done. They help me see the story better.
I love how they have a warm-ish feeling to them. There is an afterward in the book about what happened to the author after the story ends. It really added to the completeness of the story. I totally enjoyed learning about China during this time period. I haven’t read any other stories set in this time period.
*NOTE I got a copy of this book for a birthday present