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by Allan Drummond & illustrated by Allan Drummond

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 1-55858-171-5
Publisher: NorthSouth

 Told with restraint and ease, this book is about a romantic legend that haunts the ubiquitous pottery design. It begins with an invitation: ``Fly with me, over China, and down into the landscape of the willow pattern.'' Readers are thrust into the blue-and-white realm of lovers Koong Shee and Chang, respectively, a wealthy mandarin's daughter and a poor servant. But Koong Shee, betrothed to an old merchant, is locked away by her father; Chang rescues her on her wedding day and they embark on a happy life in hiding. Ultimately, the mandarin finds them and throws them into a maze beneath his Great Pagoda; when he and the lovers die, their world becomes as eternal and changeless as the now-familiar willow pattern. Any child who has ever imagined a journey into a two- dimensional expanse will be carried away by the passion Drummond brings to his subject. His blending of still elements from the pottery with looser, livelier drawings of the story's pursuits have a lyrical grace, although the order of events in text and pictures sometimes disagrees (spot vignettes of later action in the tale occasionally precede larger visuals of earlier incidents). An author's note in the end warns readers of the ``truth'' about this pattern and legend, notably, their British origins. A charmed work, told with conviction and a sure hand. (Picture book. 4-8)