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Children's LiteratureThose inventive Kang boys from The Story of Kites, The Story of Noodles, and The Story of Chopsticks are back. Since Ting, Pan and Kùai are not paying attention in school, their teacher writes notes to their parents on their hands, for cloth to write on is very expensive. Tired of holding up their hands for the notes to be read, the boys try to think of something else to write on. They can't afford silk or other cloth, but their mother, a seamstress, has many scraps. After mashing rice for rice cakes, Kùai decides they should try mixing and mashing the scraps with twigs and bark. The teacher is so impressed with their product that he sends it to the emperor. The family then opens "the world's very first paper factory." Xuan's adaptation of a traditional Chinese paper cutting process for the illustrations works well to set the tone for the story. Heavy black outlines define the shapes, which are filled with intense flat colors. The decorative scenes describe the action in an attractive, light-hearted fashion in keeping with the far-from-serious tale. A note discusses the origin of paper in China, while a final page gives a recipe for making paper in a blender with adult help. 2003, Holiday House, Ages 4 to 8.
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz