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Children's LiteratureDebon and Pilegard have teamed up again for another story with a touch of history and science packed into an adventure story with a hero and heroine that will appeal to picture book readers. The setting is ancient China where a young boy named Chuan and his friend Jing Jing live in the palace of an important warlord. A messenger has arrived with an invitation from the Emperor for their master to attend a banquet. The warlord is out in the countryside and it would take three days travel by horseback to reach him. He would never be able to return to his palace and then reach the Emperor in time for the feat. The two children come up with an idea—they attach a sail to a cart and use the power of the wind to propel them much faster than a horse could travel. They arrive, save their master from embarrassment, and in turn are rewarded with an opportunity to go to the palace of the Emperor. The story is based on a real invention by the Chinese nearly 1500 years ago. The part of the story that may be a stretch historically is that two children could succeed in undertaking such an adventure and, even more, that a young girl would be involved. The breezy art shows plenty of open spaces, and you get a real sense of the speed at which the cart is moving. The characters are loosely sketched, as are the elements of the Warlord's palace. The part of China that is depicted looks rather dry and hilly—perhaps like the steppes where the winds would be blowing with some force. There is an activity page for students and teachers to create a windsock, which is also a Chinese invention. 2005, Pelican Publishing, Ages 5 to 8.