In turns funny, poignant, and wise, these nine lively stories are peopled with an array of unusual characters, including a young woman raised as a boy who is then faced with the complicated business of marriage; a carp-fish spirit who changes herself into a young woman for love's sake; a Miracle Doctor who can cure all illnesses ...
In turns funny, poignant, and wise, these nine lively stories are peopled with an array of unusual characters, including a young woman raised as a boy who is then faced with the complicated business of marriage; a carp-fish spirit who changes herself into a young woman for love's sake; a Miracle Doctor who can cure all illnesses except one; and a shopkeeper who learns the hard way the true meaning of justice.
PW found these nine tales derived from classic Chinese operas and novels (often involving several twists of fate or reversals of fortune) "nimbly told" with "strong ambiance." Ages 8-up. (Sept.)
- Susan Hoyle Fournier
A professional storyteller, Fang has collected nine stories that were told to her as a young child. Taken from different periods in Chinese history, each story reflects the values and customs of each particular time period and governing dynasty. The stories chronicle the adventures of many characters including two brides who marry on the same day, a carp fish who changes herself into a woman, and a woman who is raised as a boy. Each celebrates the ultimate goodness of the human spirit. The soft black and white illustrations are a beautiful compliment to each of the stories. This collection would bean excellent addition to a world history curriculum as well as an aide in teaching the art of storytelling.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-A collection of 10 Chinese stories derived from the history of the Warring States Period (770-221 B.C.E.) and from operatic versions of popular tales. Retellings are vivid, lively, and read aloud well. Many have a moral, and all are entertaining; some, like the eponymous story, are quite moving. ``The Two Miss Peonys'' has appeared in its Sino-Vietnamese version in Lynette Vuong's The Golden Carp (Lothrop, 1993). A list of sources with Fang's commentary is appended, including admission of any changes-in all but one case minor-to the original material. A pronunciation guide and glossary appear in the back of the book. In the former, the author explains with specious reasoning her misguided decision to use the antiquated, inaccurate Wade-Giles transcription for Chinese names and terms; even on its own terms, this guide leaves lots unexplained. Also, defining Chinese terms in a glossary instead of in context only impedes the narrative flow. The black-and-white illustrations-one per selection-are graceful, depicting widely different epochs with amazing accuracy. Except for the aforementioned flaws, this is a charming collection.-John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library
As a professional storyteller, Fang uses the tales she heard, read, and loved as a child in Shanghai. Now she has written down nine of those stories, whose origins are legends, novels, and operas hundreds of years old. Dramatic, humorous, and touching by turn, the stories often concern difficulties overcome by characters who are kind or clever or both. One amusing tale concerns a shopkeeper who demands justice when a poor man accidentally slops a foul-smelling liquid in front of his coat shop. The wise magistrate who happens by gives the merchant more justice than he had hoped for, and certainly more than he wanted. In another, a carp-fish spirit falls in love with a man, takes the form of a young woman, and gives up her immortality to become his bride. A full-page illustration (not seen) will accompany each of the nine stories. A pronunciation guide, glossary, and source notes are appended. A fine, flavorful collection of Chinese tales.