Those inventive Kang boys from The Story of Kites, The Story of Noodles, and The Story of Chopsticks are back. Since Ting, Pan and K�ai 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, K�ai 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
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-The irrepressible Kang boys are now credited with the invention of paper. The three brothers struggle to concentrate on their math as they write their answers on the ground with sticks, an early Chinese method of doing schoolwork, but playing with bugs distracts them. Annoyed, their teacher prints a note to their parents on each of their hands and admonishes them to hold their arms in the air so the ink will dry without smudging. Ting, Pan, and K ai try to hide the messages as they race through the village, but everyone they pass asks to read what the schoolmaster has written. Their shame leads to a search for something better to write on. While helping Mama make mash for rice cakes, K ai suggests that they soak their mother's silk sewing scraps the same way. After several days of waiting and vigorous mashing, the boys pour the pulp into the trays used to drain mashed rice. Now they have an invention that will keep their teacher's comments a secret from prying eyes. Cut-paper illustrations are a fitting accompaniment to this amusing account of the discovery of papermaking. With bold black outlines and vivid coloration against a white, marbled background, the artwork captures the action as the boys exercise their ingenuity. Endnotes include information about the origin of paper and simple instructions for making it in a mason jar.-Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.