The Butterfly's Dream

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The stories of the Taoist teacher and storyteller Chuang-Tzu have long been admired for their childlike wonder and whimsical simplicity. The Butterfly’s Dream begins with his most famous story. In it, Chuang-Tzu falls asleep and, upon awakening, doesn’t know if he is a man who dreamed he was a butterfly or if he is really a butterfly dreaming he is a man. His butterfly character then leads the reader through a series of fascinating and thought-provoking stories-from the tale of the giant fish-bird and the frog in...

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The Butterfly's Dream: Children's Stories from China

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Overview

The stories of the Taoist teacher and storyteller Chuang-Tzu have long been admired for their childlike wonder and whimsical simplicity. The Butterfly’s Dream begins with his most famous story. In it, Chuang-Tzu falls asleep and, upon awakening, doesn’t know if he is a man who dreamed he was a butterfly or if he is really a butterfly dreaming he is a man. His butterfly character then leads the reader through a series of fascinating and thought-provoking stories-from the tale of the giant fish-bird and the frog in the well, to the wooden rooster and Hui-Tzu’s gourds. Only after the butterfly has encountered these strange and wonderful creatures, does Chuang-Tzu awaken.

Designed for children ages six through nine, this beautifully illustrated picture book teaches children to shed narrow viewpoints and see the world from new and unique perspectives.

Author Bio:

Kazuko Stone has illustrated many books for children in the United States and in her native Japan. Her previous books include Cool Melons Turn to Frogs and Ten Oni Drummers, among others. A full-time artist, teacher, and designer, she lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.

Ippo Keido was born in Manhattan in 1954 and lived in New York City for most of his life. He is presently a resident of Dai Bosatsu Zendo, a Zen Buddhist monastery in the Catskill mountains, where he was ordained as a monk in June, 2002. “Ippo” means “One Peak” and “Keido” means “way of the valley.”

In ancient China, a man falls asleep beneath a willow tree and dreams he is a butterfly. Based on the stories of the Chou Dynasty Taoist philosopher, Zhuangzi.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In an endnote, Keido, a monk living at a Buddhist monastery in the Catskills, explains that these linked tales (similar in structure and theme to Aesop's fables) are based on the "Chuang-Tzu" stories, written in China sometime between 369 and 286 B.C., and meant to teach readers to "think and act differently." The subtlety of the Taoist undercurrent here, while it may intrigue some children, may go over the heads of others. In an opening scene, the Aman Chuang-Tzu dreams that he is a butterfly. Several scenes follow, with the butterfly observing and interpreting their meaning. In one, for example, a man trains a fighting rooster for the king. Paradoxically, as the rooster grows less aggressive, he becomes more intimidating. The butterfly opines that "one who is quietly confident and calm has real power and strength, not one who is easily excited." In the conclusion, the butterfly dreams that it is Chuang-Tzu and awakens; shortly thereafter Chuang-Tzu awakens: "Am I Chuang-Tzu dreaming that I was a butterfly, or am I a butterfly who's dreaming that I am a man named Chuang-Tzu?" Stone's (Cool Melons Turn to Frogs) rough-grained watercolors capture Chinese landscapes resplendent with flora and fauna (Chinese calligraphy also appears on many pages). Her foreshortened lines work best on the animal characters and are less successful for the human characters. Ages 4-8. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-A collection of stories, woven together by the flight of a butterfly. The book includes several stories from the Chuang-Tzu, originally written during the Chou dynasty (369-286 B.C.E.). These retellings incorporate the original themes of the stories and encourage children to think and act differently about such things as good versus bad, right and wrong. The author's notes indicate changes made in these retellings. Beautiful watercolor illustrations and Chinese calligraphy enhance the stories. Readers will fly with the butterfly as it wings its way through each tale and appears on most pages. The language encourages readers to observe and reflect on the various themes that are relevant to today's youth.-Margaret R. Tassia, Millersville University, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804834803
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/15/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 9.08 (w) x 11.46 (h) x 0.43 (d)

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