Reviews for Little Tiger in the Chinese Night : An Autobiography in Art


Horn Book Guide Reviews 1994
Artist Song Nan Zhang has experienced all the major turmoil of modern Chinese history: World War II, the Communist takeover, the Cultural Revolution, and the Tiananmen Square tragedy. His stories make history come alive, as he portrays not only what happened but how people felt. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 1993 November #3
Zhang, a Chinese artist who has lived in Canada since the Tiananmen Square uprising of 1989, ``tells and paints'' this autobiography, which not only summarizes his own experiences but offers insights into ``the human dimension of China'' over the past half-century. Seven years old when the Communists gained control of China in 1949, he remembers his pride upon receiving the red scarf of the Young Pioneers. His high school education included farmwork, dam construction and ``self-criticism meetings.'' He describes severe food shortages and other privations, but these cede quickly to the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, during which his family was persecuted. In 1984, Zhang left China for the first time and went to France, where that country's relative wealth convinced him that ``everything I had been told, everything I had believed, was a lie.'' As he watches a boy sketch a Rodin sculpture, the middle-aged artist is flooded with an awareness of lost opportunities. Zhang's mural-like paintings light up the paradox of good intentions coexisting with cruel zeal. A quiet voice narrates events that carry their own thunder. Maps and a historical outline are appended. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) Copyright 1993 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 1994 May
Gr 5-8-In a matter-of-fact narrative, Song Nan Zhang traces his life in China, describing an idyllic childhood after World War II; his youthful idealism during the ``Great Leap Forward,'' which entailed years of hard work under harsh conditions; and the even more horrible Cultural Revolution. The writing is vivid, personal, yet oddly detached. More emotion comes from the illustrations, and it is easy to see why Zhang's skill as an artist was valued in China in all but the ``crazy ten years.'' Although they depict a life and an era not known or understood by many Americans, the paintings have an odd familiarity, as if Norman Rockwell had grown up in China between 1939 and 1989. In Canada during the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, Zhang anxiously watches television for news of his homeland. He is given a special permit to stay, and after four tense months his wife and sons are allowed to join him. Readers do not know what the future holds for his brothers and sisters, or for China itself, but Zhang has survived tumultuous times and remains hopeful in spirit. His descriptions of life in China, in both prose and paintings, along with a few concise pages of historical background, offer an excellent introduction to the modern history of a complex country.-Carla Kozak, San Francisco Public Library Copyright 1994 Cahners Business Information.

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