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

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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A lubberly addition to the fleet, kept afloat by its pictures.

PIRATES

From the Want to Know series

Light scrapings of pirate lore are delivered by two children dressed to the hilt for their roles and leading a ragged but distinctly nonfearsome crew.

Billy and Belle are playing pirates at the beach. Transformed into swashbuckling buccaneers by the flip of a half-page, they proceed to offer ingenuous disquisitions on the nature and history of piracy (“Did you know many pirates steal from other people because they are very poor?”). They also cover piratical dress, behavior, shipboard tasks and lingo, followed by a spot of smoky but nonviolent plundering. Then it’s time to go ashore for a quick chantey, a matching game that encourages drawing lines between pirate heads and hats, and a set of review questions (“What’s the leader of a pirate ship called?”). The text isn’t much more than inconsequential ballast (“It is considered bad luck for girls to be on board a pirate ship. That’s why girl pirates dress up as boys”). Nevertheless, the cleanly drawn, brightly hued cartoon illustrations—climaxed by a double-gatefold cutaway view of a capacious ship crewed by cheery idlers—sail along airily enough to keep budding buccaneers entertained.

A lubberly addition to the fleet, kept afloat by its pictures. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60537-135-1

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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A rare variant of a nearly universal myth, with powerfully evocative illustrations.

PEACE DANCER

From the Northwest Coast Legends series , Vol. 4

A Tsimshian artist links a flood tale from his village to a frequently performed potlatch dance.

As in Vickers and Budd’s earlier Northwest Coast retelling, Cloudwalker (2014), richly colored woodblock-print illustrations add strong notes of mysticism and ritual to a tersely related episode. After a group of children heedlessly captures a crow and pulls out its feathers, floods cover the land and drive all the people into canoes. Their frantic prayers go unanswered until the Chief of the Heavens, seeing that the birds have no place to alight, restores peace to the land by letting the waters recede. The humbled people rebuild, renew their respect for all life, and commemorate the event forever after with a Peace Dance that is marked by shaking out eagle down for remembrance. The full-page illustrations begin with idyllic scenes of shorelines and boats, all overlaid with ghostly Northwest Coast motifs. Later, more-turbulent views of silhouetted figures amid swirling waves give way to a climactic double-page spread panorama of a restored, sunlit landscape rich in flora and distinctively stylized fauna. The story will likely be new to readers outside the culture; Vickers closes with a note on his own lineage and how he learned both the dance and the tale directly from elders.

A rare variant of a nearly universal myth, with powerfully evocative illustrations. (Picture book/folk tale. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-55017-739-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harbour Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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