The Pea Blossom

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a starred review of this retelling set in Beijing, PW wrote, "Poole's verbal and visual eloquence brings Andersen's timeless tale to a new generation." Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Poole has taken Hans Christian Andersen's "Five Peas from One Pod" and pared down the text, eliminating the religious overtones but retaining the humor and poignancy of the original. Five peas sit dreaming in their pod in a small garden outside the city of Bejing. The first four make grandiose plans, anticipating flights to the sun or moon, or dining with the emperor. The fifth and smallest pea is content to wait and see. When the pod is cracked open and a boy with a peashooter sends the peas flying in different directions, the first four meet disastrous ends, but the fifth lands in moss on a window ledge. When it sprouts and flowers, it brings first hope and eventually health to a sick child. Andersen's recurrent themes of disdain for the pretentious and the presence of the noble within the simple shine through. Poole's luminous ink-and-gouache illustrations on rice paper reflect both her training in traditional Chinese techniques and her own creative spark. The result is paintings that are both graceful and intricate, with animals nestled below ground and in trees for the observant to discover. An informative author's note completes this worthy addition to the picture-book shelves.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Poole gives her retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's story of five peas in a pod an Eastern flavor by setting it in "a small garden near the great city of Beijing." Waiting in their shell, the five peas dream of the future. First pea wants to fly to the sun to "dance with the raven who rules the day." Second pea hopes to fly to the moon and "dance with the toad who rules the night." Third and fourth peas want to dine with the emperor in his palace. Ironically, all four peas get their wishes. Content to go where destiny sends him, fifth pea lands on the windowsill of a house where a poor woman lives with her sick daughter. Here he philosophically takes root, grows and blossoms, inspiring the sick girl to health. Poole successfully repackages Andersen's familiar tale of transformation by adding bits of Chinese mythology as well as ink, gouache and rice-paper illustrations whose delicate lines and muted earth tones evoke Chinese scroll paintings. First class. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823418640
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.25 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2005

    A CLASSIC STORY BEAUTIFULLY RETOLD

    Ofttimes the retelling of a classic does not at all diminish the original work, but rather brings new life to a beloved story. Such is the case with Amy Lowry Poole's retelling and illustrating of Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Pea Blossom,' which was originally published in Danish in 1853. Writer/illustrator Poole lived in Beijing, China, for four years where she studied scroll making. This background is reflected in her beautifully wrought paintings that so perfectly evoke the spirit of this timeless tale. Many will remember that the story begins in a little garden outside of Beijing where five peas wait in a shell. As they impatiently anticipate the day when they'll be free of the shell, they dream of what they will do. One wants to fly to the sun, another intends to soar to the moon, while the smallest pea simply says, 'I shall go wherever it is that I am meant to.' Finally, their shell is torn open by a boy who believes they're perfect for his peashooter. Youngsters will enjoy learning the fate of the peas, especially that of the smallest one whose life journey is a rewarding surprise. Thanks to Amy Lowry Poole for introducing this thought provoking tale to another generation. - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2009

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