BEAUTIFUL WARRIOR by Emily Arnold McCully


The Legend of the Nun's Kung Fu
Age Range: 4 - 8
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 From McCully (Popcorn at the Palace, p. 1225, etc.), a well- wrought story of two 17th-century Chinese women that opens with the birth of a baby girl whose steady gaze inspires her father to name her Jingyong, ``Quiet Courage.'' She is taught as a son would be, developing her qi, or vital energy, to such an extent that she wins a place as a Buddhist nun in the Shaolin Monastery, as well as a new name, Wu Mei, or ``beautiful warrior.'' The embodiment of the notion that inner strength defeats brute force, she helps Mingyi Wang, a village bean-curd seller, avoid marriage to the leader of a gang of thugs through the teaching of kung fu. Into regular emissions of wisdom McCully blends plenty of humor, some of which is calculated to speak to youngsters (Wu Mei is happy to teach kung fu to the young men who come to the monastery, provided they ``didn't just want to beat somebody up''), while some is more appealing to an adult sensibility: ``Kung fu takes a lifetime to learn,'' Wu Mei tells Mingyi, ``but this is an emergency. So I will give you a crash course. It will take a year. Postpone the wedding.'' Look for long and loud applause from those searching for competent heroines in unusual, yet credible, situations. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-590-37487-7
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Levine/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1997


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