The Topsy-Turvy Emperor of China

The Topsy-Turvy Emperor of China

by Isaac Bashevis Singer, Julian Jusim
     
 

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The mean and monstrously ugly Emperor Cho Cho Shang decrees that everything in China be the opposite of what it was-the just and beautiful becomes unjust and ugly; cruel and hideous is now fair and lovely. The kingdom is hopelessly topsy-turvy until a few brave souls, starting with the Emperor's own son, decide to resist the madness and put things right again.

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Overview

The mean and monstrously ugly Emperor Cho Cho Shang decrees that everything in China be the opposite of what it was-the just and beautiful becomes unjust and ugly; cruel and hideous is now fair and lovely. The kingdom is hopelessly topsy-turvy until a few brave souls, starting with the Emperor's own son, decide to resist the madness and put things right again.

"Gleefully parodies modern times (or any other rotten times)...This spoof speaks truth."-The New Yorker

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 4 UpA newly illustrated edition of Singer's tale of a mean, ugly, ignorant emperor who, in order to deify himself, forces all of his subjects to follow his example of doing the opposite of what is true and decent. The earlier edition (HarperCollins, 1971; o.p.) was illustrated with line drawings by William Pene Du Bois. Jusim's full-color pictures are more ornate, and words and paintings are placed against a burnt-edged, parchmentlike background. The artist has decorated the text with vignettes that bring it to life. Tiny details adorn clothing, add personality to facial features and expressions, and exude irony and humor. Three of the six full-page pictures, all surrounded by the same brown-toned, surrealistic border, can be viewed upside down for a different look at the scene that suggests the author's true intent. This fable mirrors the history of China as well as the Hitler years in Eastern Europe as it teaches a lesson in human foolishness and tyrannical oppression. Paired with Lois Lowry's The Giver (Houghton, 1993) when using it with older audiences, it could provide an interesting tool for discussion.Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
A dark tale of the eternal "struggle between good and evil, beauty and ugliness," from a master, given pristine treatment in the illustrations that appear in this edition.

A cruel Chinese emperor casts everything in his kingdom in his own deformed spirit, and the result is The Court of Injustice (where robbers go free, for a price), a Secretary of False Promises, stuffed arsenals, punk hairdos, police corruption, and godless temples. But tyranny will always have its opponents, and so the crown prince, who grows up with an intuitive sense of truth and justice, joins the revolutionaries to bring an end to his father's reign. There is a heroic dimension to this tale and some savage buffoonery, but nothing unruly finds its way into the meticulous, paneled Asian art, which remains coolly distant and stylized.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780606099837
Publisher:
San Val, Incorporated
Publication date:
04/01/1996
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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