The story is rather fragile to be stretched to such a length for this age group, but this tale of a cocky donkey and the Chinese family who owns him, is withal original and imaginative and clippity-clops along in an engaging manner. Both the author and illustrator, Kurt Wiese, seem to know their donkeys and the spotted donkey -- called hua lu (""flowered donkey"") by the Chinese -- with his Major Hoople swaggers, brassy-toothy brays, and indifference to donkey behavior standards, is irresistible. Little Flower (10) and her young brother, Little Treasure, ride the to get their sick father some medicine. However, the donkey's refusal to cooperate and his interest in blasting ""hee haws"" at other donkeys, lead to a wild ride, an unceremonious fall on the ground, a lost donkey and lost children, and finally an exciting ride with a camel car van through a wind storm with the defiant donkey in the lead. Top for animal interest as well as regional.