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The Nian Monster
     

The Nian Monster

by Andrea Wang, Alina Chau (Illustrator)
 

Tong tong! The legendary Nian monster has returned at Chinese New Year. With horns, scales, and wide, wicked jaws, Nian is intent on devouring Shanghai, starting with Xingling! The old tricks to keep him away don't work on Nian anymore, but Xingling is clever. Will her quick thinking be enough to save the city from the Nian Monster?

Overview


Tong tong! The legendary Nian monster has returned at Chinese New Year. With horns, scales, and wide, wicked jaws, Nian is intent on devouring Shanghai, starting with Xingling! The old tricks to keep him away don't work on Nian anymore, but Xingling is clever. Will her quick thinking be enough to save the city from the Nian Monster?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 10/03/2016
Wang’s story begins as Xingling and her grandmother hang red paper decorations for the Chinese New Year in Shanghai. Po Po explains that the Nian Monster once plagued China by eating whole villages. Since the monster is afraid of “loud sounds, fire, and the color red,” the decorations prevent its return. The Nian Monster seems no more than a fantasy, but as Xingling cooks, he leaps onto the family’s balcony. “I have come to devour this city!” he roars, causing buildings to shudder. Xingling turns out to be a cool-headed hero. “Have a bowl of long-life noodles first,” she advises the monster. “If you live longer, you can conquer more cities.” More crafty culinary thinking slows Nian down further (bony fish, sticky glutinous rice), and a fireworks scheme sends him packing. Wang’s story thrills but doesn’t threaten: Chau’s wonderfully vivid watercolors give the monster doe eyes and a round body that make him seem like a cranky, overgrown teddy bear, and Wang shares cultural information about the Chinese New Year with the lightest of touches. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Justin Rucker, Shannon Associates. (Dec.)
From the Publisher

"Wang's story thrills but doesn't threaten: Chau's wonderfully vivid watercolors give the monster doe eyes and a round body that make him seem like a cranky, overgrown teddy bear, and Wang shares cultural information about the Chinese New Year with the lightest of touches." Publishers Weekly starred review
Kirkus Reviews
2016-09-19
A little girl in Shanghai outwits a Lunar New Year monster.Xingling is grocery shopping with her grandmother days before the Chinese New Year festivities are to begin. Curious about all the red decorations, she learns that once upon a time there was a very hungry monster who threatened villages. The monster, fortunately, had three fears—“loud sounds, fire, and the color red”—and the Chinese learned how to keep safe from it. Unfortunately, the monster, named Nian, soon appears in Shanghai very hungry and very unperturbed by ancient customs. Xingling cleverly finds three new, traditional means to defeat Nian: a bowl containing “the longest noodle in China” (which sends him snoozing), bony milkfish (which hurts his throat), and a rice cake made with very sticky rice (which glues his jaws together). Wang brings together traditional storytelling elements in her tale—three tasks and repetition of phrases—in this contemporary setting of a Chinese New Year story. However, the writing is pedestrian and will not hold up to multiple readings. The explanation that “nian” means either “year” or “sticky” comes only in the author’s note. Chau’s artwork is colorful but very busy; Xingling is drawn with giant, manga-style eyes, though the other Chinese characters have simple ink-dot eyes. Also, there is no mention of which year of the 12-year cycle is being celebrated. Ai ya—not the happiest New Year tale. (Picture book. 4-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807556429
Publisher:
Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
12/01/2016
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
529,746
Product dimensions:
8.90(w) x 10.90(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD450L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author


As a child, Andrea Wang made dumplings and took baths with orange peels to prepare for Chinese New Year. When not traveling, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two children, and a dog named Mochi. This is her first picture book.

Alina Chau received her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. She spent over a decade working in the animation industry. She currently develops her own illustration projects and lives in California.

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