THE MASTER SWORDSMAN AND THE MAGIC DOORWAY by Alice Provensen
Kirkus Star

THE MASTER SWORDSMAN AND THE MAGIC DOORWAY

Two Legends From Ancient China
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

There’s an audacious quality to Caldecott Honor–winning Provensen’s (A Visit to William Blake’s Inn, 1981) work, never more so than here, where she yokes together two Chinese stories, and uses Chinese painting as the inspiration for her oil on vellum images. There’s luminosity in both the glow of the art, and in the purity of the telling. In the first tale, Little Chu’s desperately poor village is beset by bandits, so he seeks to learn swordsmanship from the great Master Li. Master Li’s stewpot, water jug, and log all have lessons for Little Chu, and he learns them painfully. In the end, though, he masters the sword so well that he needs it only to chop cabbage, and brings prosperity to his village by wielding the famous sword to prepare meals. The Magic Doorway teaches likewise. The emperor is so taken with the magnificent painting Mu Chi is making on the palace wall that he wishes to have the artist put to death when he finishes, so no one else will have so great a work. But Mu Chi, who could make deer leap in his painted canyons and rabbits nibble the grass, paints a blue door, and then escapes through it: “I have some more paintings to make, and I cannot make them without a head,” he tells the emperor. The elegant precision of both prose and painting will speak to young readers, bringing home complicated lessons about freedom, choice, and preparedness. (Folktale. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-83232-X
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2001




MORE BY ALICE PROVENSEN

ChildrenKLONDIKE GOLD by Alice Provensen
by Alice Provensen
ChildrenA DAY IN THE LIFE OF MURPHY by Alice Provensen
by Alice Provensen
ChildrenMY FELLOW AMERICANS by Alice Provensen
by Alice Provensen