THE SONG OF MU LAN by Jeanne M. Lee

THE SONG OF MU LAN

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A beautiful translation of a sixth-century Chinese folk poem about Mu Lan, a woman who spends more than a decade in the emperor's army disguised as a man and returns home a hero. The text is printed on soft-hued watercolor illustrations where milky rivers flow through hazy, beige landscapes. The figures are deliberately stilted; each detail is carefully and delicately drawn--costumed soldiers and horses, banners, glowing fabrics, folded draperies--but the artfully created panoramas won't draw readers' eyes across the pages, many of which look more or less alike, and which leave the action fairly vague. The poem is written in free verse, with the original appearing in Chinese calligraphy running down the side of each spread, lee creates a powerful and distinctive mood--a product of spare imagery, elegant repetitions, and use of the present tense to describe the distant past--that makes for an affecting read-aloud.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1995
ISBN: 1886910006
Page count: 36pp
Publisher: "Front Street (P.O. Box 280 Arden, NC 28704)"