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CROUCHING TIGER by Ying Chang Compestine


by Ying Chang Compestine & illustrated by Yan Nascimbene

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4642-4
Publisher: Candlewick

Discipline and warmth bring a child and his Chinese grandfather closer together.

When his grandfather comes for a visit from China, Vinson is fascinated by the dance the older man practices in the garden: “His hands moved like gliding birds. He crouched like a tiger; he drew an invisible bow.” Vinson is encouraged by the older man to try a standing meditation. For a boy most interested in action-packed martial arts, Vinson is surprised to find this quiet way of gaining strength a challenge, but the payoff—holding aloft the cabbage for the dragon in the New Year’s parade—is wonderful. Compestine creates a simple portrait of a familiar cultural bridge, conveying Vinson’s awe, shyness and embarrassment about his serious grandfather. Nascimbene captures both the compact energy of the small boy and the graceful, composed grace of the adult.  His contained, quiet style with warm colors nicely matches the low-key narrative. The text appears on the left-hand page along with small captioned illustrations of a young boy moving through the positions of the form. The right-hand pages develop the story in charming ink-and-watercolor glimpses of Vinson alone or with his grandfather.

A celebration of family and Chinese New Year along with a simple introduction to Wudang martial arts, especially tai chi—and to the idea that strength can be gentle. (Picture book. 5-9)