Gr 3-6-Beginning with the Jade Emperor, "the great organizer of the universe," Fisher introduces 17 popular figures from Chinese mythology, describing their origins, their abilities, and how they mirrored the lives of their human worshippers. Formal full-page paintings highlight the attributes of each deity and provide a sense of their great power. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
In his latest gallery of divinities, Fisher profiles 17 of "the most popular" deities in traditional Chinese culture, from the mighty Jade Emperor Yu Huang Da Di to two nameless Menshen, soldiers elevated to the status of "door gods," and charged with ensuring peaceful sleep. As usual, the art slightly evokes a national style, but is mostly Fisher; opposite a page-length disquisition on the origin and attributes of each, he poses monumental, slant-eyed, robed figures floating against monochromatic backgrounds and, generally, glowering up at the viewer. Though the information here is strictly recycled, and readers may be confused by the sight of Zhong Kui, the putative god of healing, wielding a sword-not to mention Tibet included among the "Lands of Ancient China" on the endpaper maps-for supporting classroom units or introducing younger children to an unfamiliar system of worship, this album has few competitors. Fisher closes with a helpful list of sources, along with a Pinyin pronunciation guide. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)