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THE RUNAWAY WOK by Ying Chang Compestine


by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Sebastià Serra

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-525-42068-2
Publisher: Dutton

Sent to the market to buy rice for his family’s Chinese New Year celebration, little boy Ming comes home with an old, rusted wok instead. His parents are dismayed. But this wok is special: It can sing. As soon as Mama Zhang shines the wok, it jumps off the table with a “Skippity-hoppity-ho!” and rolls to the house of the richest man in Beijing. The wok tricks the wife into stuffing it with dumplings, rice cakes and more. Filled to the brim, it skips back to the Zhang family. Serra’s bright, jam-packed visuals zip after the wok as it flits through cluttered markets and detailed Beijing streets. The wok makes two more trips, each time singing its catchy tune. In delight, Ming and his parents hold a grand New Year’s Eve feast and share their fortune with all around. Inspired by the Danish folktale “The Talking Pot,” Compestine cleverly swops in a wok—a traditional symbol of sharing. An endnote connects the spirit of the Chinese New Year to lessons of generosity learned in the tale. (recipe for festive stir-fried rice) (Picture book. 4-8)