A childless king and queen, who are clearly Western in appearance, follow a wondrous red thread that tugs at their hearts and draws them to a "faraway land." They ultimately arrive at a remote village (it is obviously Chinese, although never identified as such), where they discover that a giggling baby girl has been pulling at their heartstrings. An elderly woman tells them, "This baby belongs to you." Lin (The Seven Chinese Sisters, see Picture Book Reprints) bases this imaginative story on an ancient Chinese belief that "an invisible, unbreakable red thread connects all those who are destined to be together." Some parents (and children), however, may be troubled by the conspicuous absence of the birth mother, or by the tale's resolution, which, in making the adopted child even a metaphorical "princess in the kingdom," draws attention to the economic disparity between the child's original circumstances and those of the adoptive family. But it's hard to resist the story's plainspoken magic. Lin builds a sense of awe and mystery as she unspools the monarchs' journey, and although her homey rendering style can border on stiff, the intense expressiveness of her characters and a regal palette make for emotionally vivid compositions. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy Taleby Grace Lin
A king and queen should be full of joy and contentment, but they both feel a strange pain that worsens every day. Then a peddler's magic spectacles reveal a red thread pulling at each of their hearts. The king and queen know they must follow the thread.
Lin offers a contemporary fairy tale, using a story within a story to weave in a Chinese belief that "an invisible, unbreakable red thread connects all who are destined to be together." It begins with an Asian girl, who looks no older than five, asking her Caucasian parents to read a favorite story "again," thus introducing the main story: a royal couple both suffer a mysterious pain in their chests that nothing can remedy or explain, until a peddler gives them magic spectacles that allow them to see a red thread bound tightly around their hearts. They follow its loose end for days, crossing a sea, the pain gradually easing, until they reach a small village in a foreign land and find a gurgling, smiling baby at the end. A wise old villager tells them, "This baby belongs to you." Bright illustrations and vivid language will likely appeal even to preschoolers, though some children will need to have the connection to adopting a baby from China made more explicit through additional discussion. Karen Acres's Little Miss Ladybug & Her Magical Red Thread (Ladybug, 2003) also deals with this theme. This lovely book has general appeal, but it's particularly suitable for patrons requesting adoption titles, and especially transracial adoption of children from China.
Deborah VoseCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will ever break. This is a Chinese saying very often associated with adoption. I bought this book for a coworker who adopted a baby from China. She almost cried.
I bought this for my sister who is adopting from China. It is a gorgeous story about a child and her parents finding each other and lets you truly feel how wonderful that moment is when the empty part of your heart is filled after aching for a child. I think my adopted niece will understand how much she is loved as she discovers this story.