Hardcover, 64 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Tuttle Publishing
This wonderful collection of Chinese fables brings to English readers stories of mischief, courage, and splendid practicality. The first story tickled my bones particularly; it is the story of a bride whose palanquin breaks and rather than spend time whiling away the minutes waiting for the men to come and fix it, she simply walks to where the wedding is being held and arrives there with no one any the wiser and without a single hair out of place.
The several stories included in this volume are pithy but for all their brevity, pack a solid punch as in the instance of the story of a man who travels a long ways to pay respect to a goddess but is told that the goddess is found in the most humble abodes and people. He returns home to his mother whom he hasn’t treated very well and has an epiphany that the goddess has been in front of him all the while–he has just been too blind to see her. Not all stories are sombre however, there are stories which have a more playful aspect to them such as the one about the night sentry who tells his king of a dream he had that prophecies danger and doesn’t understand why he is given money and then later released of his duties. (It took me a while to work this one out but I did snicker afterwards.)
The stories are accompanied by art from Lak-Khee Tay-Adouard which are bright and cheerful. The aesthetic appeal of the book aside, the stories are presented with wit and humour and in addition to introducing children to a new culture, they will entertain. If you can’t take my word for it, do consider that the Chinese Fables has won a number of awards including:
**Winner of the 2014 Aesop Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature**
**Winner of the 2013 Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award for Fables, Folklore & Fairytales**
**2014 Creative Child Magazine Book of the Year Award Winner**
Not too shabby eh? I heartily recommend that you pick this book up for your classroom or bedtime reading with your kids. Or even if it’s just for yourself because I know I’m loving my copy.
Shiho Nunes is a passionate educator who has authored Hawaiian culture-based novels for young adults, as well as The Shishu Ladies of Hilo: Japanese Embroidery in Hawaii. She lives in Berkley, California.
Born and raised in Singapore, Lak-Khee Tay-Audouard is the illustrator of several children’s books, among them Monkey: The Classic Chinese Adventure Tale, Singapore Children’s Favorite Stories, and Adventures of the Treasure Fleet. The mother of two grown children, she and her husband live in France.