The Magic Pillow

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Overview

Based on a famous Chinese folktale, The Magic Pillow tells the story of a poor boy named Ping who is given a magic pillow by a mysterious magician. Ping sees what a lifetime of wealth and power would be like, and discovers that the riches of family and freedom are much more valuable.

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Overview

Based on a famous Chinese folktale, The Magic Pillow tells the story of a poor boy named Ping who is given a magic pillow by a mysterious magician. Ping sees what a lifetime of wealth and power would be like, and discovers that the riches of family and freedom are much more valuable.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In long ago China, a young boy named Ping is caught in the mountains by a snowstorm. He takes refuge in an inn where a great magician is performing. When the magician asks why he is so sad, Ping tells of his family's poverty. The magician gives Ping a pillow, telling him to sleep on it and all his wishes will come true. In his dreams, Ping grows up, marries a beautiful girl from a rich family, lives in a palace, and becomes a successful warrior, powerful and happy. But then things go wrong. He is put in jail. When freed, he is again successful and honored. But he sees his family fortunes rise and fall until he is old. When he awakens, he thanks the magician. Knowing now what it would be like to have money, power, and fame, he realizes that he is happy enough just the way he is. Demi uses traditional Chinese paints and inks with very fine brushes and pens to produce a sequence of scenes all set in circular golden frames. Large amounts of red and gold add a sense of royal elegance. The buildings are decorated with traditional ornaments; the characters are clothed in finely detailed historic garments. The visual repetitions enhance the philosophical thrust of the tale's message, based on a Chinese short story described by Demi in a note. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
Demi's gilt-encircled, jewel-toned illustrations are beautiful as always, and her version of a 1,400-year-old Tang Dynasty story will resonate with children and adults alike. Taking refuge from a snowstorm in a mountain inn, poor young Ping meets a magician whose magnificent tricks leave the boy fretting that he will never achieve greatness. The magician lends Ping a pillow, upon which the lad dreams that he is rich and powerful, suffers a fall, regains his power, then sees his descendants do likewise over and over. Awakening with the insight that money "was like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud, power was like a flickering lamp, and fame lasted no longer than a bubble in a stream," Ping announces that he is now content with his lot, and makes his way home, singing. Some might have hoped to see a little more ambition in the boy, but many will appreciate the conclusion that "He who finds peace in his heart has found his palace of gold." (author's note) (Picture book. 7-9, adult)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416924708
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 6/3/2008
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Demi is the award-winning creator of numerous books for children, including The Empty Pot; Buddha; The Dalai Lama; The Legend of Saint Nicholas; Gandhi, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book and received an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award; and Muhammad, which was named a Kirkus Reviews Editors’ Choice selection, a Booklist Editors’ Choice selection, one of the Booklist Top Ten Religion Books for Youth, and a Book Links “Lasting Connections” selection, and was cited in a Publishers Weekly starred review as a “timely, exceptionally handsome biography [that] serves as an excellent introduction to Islam.” Demi lives in Carnation, Washington.

Demi is the award-winning creator of numerous books for children, including The Empty Pot; Buddha; The Dalai Lama; The Legend of Saint Nicholas; Gandhi, which was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book and received an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award; and Muhammad, which was named a Kirkus Reviews Editors’ Choice selection, a Booklist Editors’ Choice selection, one of the Booklist Top Ten Religion Books for Youth, and a Book Links “Lasting Connections” selection, and was cited in a Publishers Weekly starred review as a “timely, exceptionally handsome biography [that] serves as an excellent introduction to Islam.” Demi lives in Carnation, Washington.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    COLORFUL AND CAPTIVATING FOR YOUNG READERS

    What child wouldn't be transfixed by Demi's illustrations? Her colors are bold, primary and her designs are intricate.. She is an artist with finely tuned sensibilities, one who translates the mundane into the magical. She captures the eye with the hues of her paints and attention to the most minute detail Not only have her books garnered a legion of fans but Demi has been awarded the Christopher Medal and one title was named Best Illustrated Book by the New York Times. With The Magic Pillow she reintroduces an ancient Chinese folktale. It is the story of Ping, a poor boy who goes out to gather firewood to keep his family warm. But once he reaches the mountains he realizes that he cannot return home due to a sudden heavy snow. However, 'Not far away Ping could see the light of an inn. He rode over to ask if he might stay there till the storm stopped.' It so happened that a magician was also staying at the inn. This man performed amazing tricks and gives Ping a magic pillow. Once Ping falls asleep on the pillow he has breathtaking dreams. In these dreams he has everything he has ever desired - fame, fortune, power. But, does the acquisition of these things bring true happiness? Youngsters will learn from Ping's experience as he discovers what it is that truly gives him joy. - Gail Cooke

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    Posted November 18, 2008

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