THE BEGGAR'S MAGIC: A Chinese Tale by Margaret & Raymond Chang--Adapt. Chang


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The Changs (The Cricket Warrior, 1994, etc.) retell an ancient Chinese tale about selfishness and sharing, set to luminous illustrations by Johnson. A holy beggar-priest comes to young Fu Nan's village. The boy and his friends are fascinated by the old man, whose cheer and care for all creatures impress them as much as the magic he works: drawing a sparrow that escapes from the page as a real sparrow escapes from a boy's cage; filling an old widow's dry well with water. When the August Moon Festival arrives, and rich Farmer Wu refuses to give a sweet, ripe pear to the priest, the holy beggar takes a pear seed, astonishing the crowd and admonishing the selfish farmer in one act of conjuring. Johnson's ink, watercolor, and colored-pencil illustrations have the pale luster of Chinese silk; his sure rendering of animals, fruit, and flowers, and his use of flat space and elegant line, are inspired by Chinese painting and calligraphy. The book is as satisfying as unselfishness rewarded fully and meanness punished neatly.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: McElderry