The Silk Princessby Charles Santore
Princess Hsi-Ling Chi has heard tales of a sleeping dragon and ancient gods residing in the Holy Mountains beyond her father’s palace. But when she emerges from the gates for the first time, she is not afraid. She has with her a magical thread unraveled from a tiny cocoon that dropped into the Empress’s teacup, and she knows it will lead her back to the palace garden. But she is very far from home when she notices that the thread has broken, and that she is lost. How will she find her way back? And will the secret of silk be lost forever?
Gr 3-5- Santore's original tale is an elaboration of the legend regarding the discovery of silk some 5000 years ago during China's ancient Middle Kingdom. The Emperor's daughter watches a cocoon fall from a mulberry tree into her mother's teacup and unravel in the hot liquid. Curious, the child finds that she can stretch the single unraveled thread through the palace grounds and up onto the nearby mountain, where she meets a very old man-a silk weaver-who tells her the secret of harvesting the cocoons and weaving cloth. Santore has combined paint, black and red inks, oil pastel, and colored pencil to form detailed double-page illustrations that are clearly the focus of the book. Variations of perspective add depth to his paintings; his careful choice of color and incredible detail in clothing, buildings and structures, natural landscapes, and a wonderful dragon add an element of magic. The tiny print size further emphasizes the illustrations, but makes for tedious reading. In several jarring scenes, certain characters' faces-emperor, princess, and old weaver-appear to be drawn from live figures while others are painted in the same Chinese folk style as the scenery. Despite the lovely pictures, this is a marginal purchase for most collections.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OHCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Meet the Author
Award winner Charles Santore has taken an ancient Chinese legend and spun it into an original tale with an adventurous little main character for kids to identify with. His stunning paintings capture all the magic and majesty of China five thousand years ago. Charles Santore has received numerous awards. His A Stowaway on Noah’s Ark was an Original Art 2000 Gold Medalist from the Society of Illustrators. His illustrations are part of the permanent collections of the Brandywine River Museum, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the Museum of Modern Art. He makes his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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