Little Stone Lion

Overview

In a small Chinese village a stone-carved lion sits and watches as a guardian spirit and holder of the villagers' collective memory. Older people stop, stroking his head to remember the past and children walk by knowing he watches over them to keep them safe. Whimsical illustrations and inventive visual perspectives depict the lion's expressions as he recounts his memories of the villagers over the years in daylight and evening and in the changing ...

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Overview

In a small Chinese village a stone-carved lion sits and watches as a guardian spirit and holder of the villagers' collective memory. Older people stop, stroking his head to remember the past and children walk by knowing he watches over them to keep them safe. Whimsical illustrations and inventive visual perspectives depict the lion's expressions as he recounts his memories of the villagers over the years in daylight and evening and in the changing of the seasons.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Teachers and parents looking for simple stories set in China will find this offers a unique view of a Chinese village as seen through the eyes of a stone lion of great dignity and quiet charm."  —Booklist
Publishers Weekly
Xiong's first appearance in English is a quiet elegy to village life in China, narrated by one of many statues of mythical guardian lions that dot the Chinese countryside. The lion of the title is the silent keeper of the village's memories: "Although I'm smaller than a cat, I'm older than even the oldest village elder.... I remember all the people and all that has happened." Xiong depicts the stone narrator closing its eyes and tilting its head, a contented smile on its face, while tiny figures from the past fly upward across the spread-a man steering a boat, an ox still wearing its harness, a silver-haired grandmother. The spare and whimsical illustrations, which appear to be in charcoal and watercolor wash on textured paper, show the statue and the appealingly lumpy figures of the villagers under a full moon, blown by autumn winds and surrounded by snowflakes. "Children grow up and leave the village," the lion continues, as a bus pulls away from a bus stop. "Maybe they will forget me... But I will remember them and miss them." Xiong shows the lion from above, the memories of children with butterfly nets, umbrellas and glowing lanterns swirling above it; a single tear quivers at the corner of its eye. "I won't forget anyone," it promises. The book's theme of an object whose virtue is that it never changes may vex those who hanker for heroes and action. Meditative readers, though, may find themselves unexpectedly moved by Xiong's work. Ages 5-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
The village is watched over by a stone lion, the guardian spirit. This stone lion is very old and is loved by all of the village people. He watches over the children and comforts the old people. Although village children may leave, the stone lion does not forget them. Kim Xiong reflects his study of Chinese painting and his understanding of Chinese culture in the wonderful line and ink drawings of this picture book. The pictures have muted colors added judiciously to the darker, more neutral drawings of the stone lion. It is difficult to know the age group for whom this book would be best suited. While the limited text and softness of the drawings makes it ideal for preschool and early elementary children, some of the drawings' perspectives may be a bit daunting to preschool-aged children. Also, some of the lion's character is very subtle and his depth may be missed by younger children. In spite of this, the story is beautifully illustrated and can show a different culture in this gentle picture book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780976205616
  • Publisher: Heryin Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2006
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Kim Xiong is a Chinese poet and a painter who uses techniques from traditional Chinese art.

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