THE RUNAWAY RICE CAKE by Ying Chang Compestine

THE RUNAWAY RICE CAKE

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Elements of “The Gingerbread Boy” and a reward-for-good-deed-rendered motif are combined in this original, upbeat Chinese New Year tale. A poor family together bakes a nián-gão, a rice cake, for the holiday, but the cake comes to life and runs away, chanting “Ai yo! I don’t think so.” It is only caught when it runs into the skirt of a hungry old woman. The family unselfishly offers this, their only food, to the woman, and when they return home they are rewarded by their neighbors and a sumptuous feast, presumably provided by the Kitchen God. The brothers have contrasting personalities, with the youngest, Da, putting a positive spin on each situation. First-time children’s-book illustrator Chau presents a lively, colorful interpretation of the story despite some stiffness in his human figures. His acrylic spreads attractively set the story in a Chinese fishing village, with the red of the holiday in prominence. The papyrus typeset adds to the pleasing book design. Concluding pages contain a note about celebrating the Chinese New Year and recipes for baked and steamed nián-gão. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-82972-8
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2000




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