Deftly written but not quite traditional, a pleasing romantic story.

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THE ROCK MAIDEN

A CHINESE TALE OF LOVE AND LOYALTY

A loving wife is turned to stone by a merciful goddess in this story spun from a Hong Kong legend.

Although that sounds the opposite of merciful, the goddess of fishermen, Tin Hau, is trying to help Ling Yee, a young and beautiful wife whose husband has disappeared in a terrible storm. Every day, Ling Yee, with her baby strapped to her back, climbs to a promontory where she can look out over the ocean and search for her husband’s sampan. For months, the young woman with the infant keeps watch and grows sadder. Her parents seek assistance from Tin Hau, also known as goddess of the sea, and the deity finally helps—in her own way. “One day, she decided that they should mourn no more.” The goddess turns the two into a rock formation, known in Hong Kong as Amah Rock, a tourist destination to this day. Amah usually means “nanny,” someone who takes care of children, but it can also mean “mother.” In this adaptation of the tale, Yim creates “a happier ending—where the husband finds his way home to his loyal wife and son,” and Tin Hau brings Ling Yee and her child back to life. Softly toned watercolors illustrate the sad story–turned-happy with grays and blues, modulating to warm yellow, orange, and red tones in the joyful moments.

Deftly written but not quite traditional, a pleasing romantic story. (author’s note) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-937786-65-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Wisdom Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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