The Laziest Boy in the World

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New York, NY 1998 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. Glued binding. Paper over boards. 32 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: Children/juvenile.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sloth does not a chipper tale make, at least not in this sluggishly paced story. As a baby, Xiaolong doesn't cry or kick much, "because it was too much work." In boyhood, washing his face proves so taxing that he cleans the left side one day and the right side the next ("There was usually a dirty stripe down the center of his face"). But while Namioka (The Loyal Cat) finds opportunity for amusing anecdotes in Xiaolong's lethargy, there is something inescapably sad and pathetic about him. Too long in arriving, the tale's turning point occurs after a thief creeps into the house one night and rouses Xiaolong to anger--and action. Xuan (Ten Suns: A Chinese Legend), using a combination of acrylics, watercolor, pen and colored pencil, gives Xiaolong's face a range of unorthodox expressions, but the task of rendering an almost inert hero seems to daunt him, too. Xiaolong ends up looking like someone who's mentally challenged as well as physically slow--in other words, like someone parents won't want their children to laugh at. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-In a rural village in old China, Xiaolong is born lazy. Since he is the youngest child and the only boy, his family indulges him to the point that he grows up barely able to take care of himself. Specific incidents dramatize just how lazy he is. When he is hungry, he won't turn over to reach for bread; when he falls off a water buffalo, he lies in the mud for hours looking at the sky. However, when he sees a thief enter his house one night, he pictures his family's grief at their imminent loss and cunningly foils the intruder. This unaccustomed action makes him a hero and changes his idle ways. The deliciously subtle humor of the text is not matched by the heavy-handed illustrations. While Xuan's dreamlike paintings, reminiscent of Marc Chagall's work, are authentic in detail, his portrayal of massive figures and a hero who is lazy of eye as well as of limb teeter just this side of grotesque, more caricature than character. Still, the well-written story should be fun to read aloud, and is sure to make the most indolent child feel superior.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823413300
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 11.34 (h) x 0.45 (d)

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