Reviews for Chinese Fables : The Dragon Slayer and Other Timeless Tales of Wisdom


Booklist Reviews 2013 July #1
Nineteen tales about human folly caused by vanity, pride, dishonesty, and some less strident weaknesses maintain their centuries-old timelessness--but with a contemporary relevance achieved through language, tone, and illustration. In two- to four-page stories, readers are invited to laugh at the foolishness of Ch'in, who believes he can mute the cacophony of a huge bell he has stolen by plugging his own ears with rags. And readers will smile when the fox, as always, outsmarts the lion. Perceptive readers might notice a theme: animals are smarter than people, and women are smarter than men. Tay-Audouard's pencil-and-wash on bamboo rag paper complements the text perfectly: it's unmistakably, traditionally Chinese, and gentle caricatured facial expressions lend humor and whimsy, right down to the curve of a wily eyebrow or the O of an ignorant mouth. This will be a welcome addition to a classroom set of fables from around the world. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
This uniquely designed book contains nineteen short Chinese fables, stories as strange as the handwritten-looking font. Some are simple morality tales, while others, of dim-witted thieves, fundraising monks, and a prophetic sentry, are confusing. Chinese artist Tay-Audouard's light-soaked illustrations stylistically embody traditional Chinese ink wash paintings, but they, too, are often obscure. The origins of each fable are noted in the back.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 July

Gr 2-5--This thought-provoking collection of 19 tales will resonate with readers familiar with more commonly known fables or parables such as those of Aesop or the Bible. Nunes draws upon Chinese yu-yen, or cautionary tales; some of them date to the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. She expands the original versions into brief (one to three page) tales accompanied by Tay-Audouard's enticing illustrations. A wry sense of humor runs through these selections, which point out the folly of arrogance, vanity, greed, and other common failings. Some tales celebrate virtues, such as "The Practical Bride" whose resourceful heroine solves her wedding-day dilemma of a poorly made sedan chair without mussing her elaborate wedding headdress. A grazing cow teaches an arrogant musician a lesson in "The Wrong Audience." Other standouts include "Sakyamuni and Lao-Tse" and "Scaring the Tigers"; ironically, arrows fail to scare the tigers but a heavy sheaf of donation requests from the monks makes them beat a hasty retreat. All of the stories benefit from the minutely detailed illustrations, which appear both stylized and naive. Created in pencil and wash on bamboo rag paper using natural elements such as pressed leaves, charcoal, and ground tea, the art is both exquisite and appropriate to the rustic origins of these tales. This well-crafted collection can be enjoyed on its own or as an intriguing resource for cross-cultural studies or language-arts units.--Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

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