Reviews for Silk Princess


Booklist Reviews 2007 November #2
Santore's title retells the legend of how silk was discovered. In this version, a young princess spots a cocoon tumble into her mother's teacup. Inside the liquid, the cocoon unravels, and the princess wonders how far the thread will stretch. She ties one end to her waist, hands her mother the remaining thread, and slowly walks away, letting the string unravel as she goes. Her game turns into a wild adventure that brings her past the castle walls and into the mountains, where she meets a dragon and then a wise man, who teaches her how to weave the thread into brilliant silk cloth. At last, she returns to her mother and shares her secret, to the delight of all the court. The text, printed in a font that is too small, tells an exciting, vivid tale, but it's Santore's exquisitely detailed artwork, combining beautiful character close-ups with scenes resembling traditional Chinese landscapes, that is so extraordinary. As in Deborah Noyes' Red Butterfly, no specific sources are cited, but an author's note gives more background about the legends of silk's discovery. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2008 Spring
Several thousand years ago in China, a princess unraveled a silkworm cocoon and embarked on a magical dream-adventure that culminated in the weaving of the first silk garment. Santore's expanded version of the legend of the discovery of silk, presented in sophisticated language (and too-small print), meanders; however, the elegant art, modeled after Chinese painting, will likely catch readers' eyes. Copyright 2008 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2007 November #2
Santore reworks an ancient Chinese legend about the discovery of silk into a sumptuously illustrated tale featuring an Emperor's daughter, a dragon (can't have a Chinese story without a dragon, after all) and an old, probably divine weaver who plays an important role until suddenly disappearing, along with the lustrous fabric he's been creating. The stuff of dreams, perhaps? Filled with flowing robes, delicately drawn faces and rugged landscapes, the art displays great technical virtuosity--but also carelessness with details; not only do servants wear gowns that are Korean in style, not Chinese, but children's footwear looks like modern Rockports, and the weaver seems to be wearing a woman's slip under his jacket. Beautiful work--but Lily Toy Hong's The Empress and the Silkworm (1995) sticks closer to the original story and culture. (Picture book/folktale. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2008 February

Gr 3-5-- Santore's original tale is an elaboration of the legend regarding the discovery of silk some 5000 years ago during China's ancient Middle Kingdom. The Emperor's daughter watches a cocoon fall from a mulberry tree into her mother's teacup and unravel in the hot liquid. Curious, the child finds that she can stretch the single unraveled thread through the palace grounds and up onto the nearby mountain, where she meets a very old man--a silk weaver--who tells her the secret of harvesting the cocoons and weaving cloth. Santore has combined paint, black and red inks, oil pastel, and colored pencil to form detailed double-page illustrations that are clearly the focus of the book. Variations of perspective add depth to his paintings; his careful choice of color and incredible detail in clothing, buildings and structures, natural landscapes, and a wonderful dragon add an element of magic. The tiny print size further emphasizes the illustrations, but makes for tedious reading. In several jarring scenes, certain characters' faces--emperor, princess, and old weaver--appear to be drawn from live figures while others are painted in the same Chinese folk style as the scenery. Despite the lovely pictures, this is a marginal purchase for most collections.--Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

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