Elizabeth Varadan | The Children’s Book Review | April 14, 2014
Story by Shiho S. Nunes, Illustrated by Lak-Khee Tay-Audouard
Age Range: 9 and up
Hardcover: 64 pages
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Hardcover with Jacket edition (February 12, 2013)
What to Expect: Nineteen pithy tales drawn from ancient Chinese writings.
This collection of pithy tales is multi-layered. The stories linger in the mind the way a good poem resonates. They are ancient Chinese fables Shiho S. Nunes has expanded into longer tales, though none are over three pages. Lak-Khee Tay-Audouard’s beautiful illustrations capture the folk-tale quality of the stories, as well as the humor of the situations.
Humor runs through most of these stories, illustrating the foibles and weaknesses of characters who are usually, but not always, human. (“In King of Beasts”, the main characters are a lion and a fox, and would be a good fit among Aesop’s fables.) In another, the statues of the Buddha Sakyamuni, and the philosopher Lao-Tse get along better than their followers. Saints receive their fair of irony in “No Takers” and “Scaring the Tigers”. One of the funniest tales in the collection is “Stealing the Bell”. But all of the tales give quiet pleasure and make a reader think, even while smiling.
“The two set off, the fox proudly ahead, snout regally high and tail aloft, the lion slinking behind him like a servant in tow. And just as the fox had predicted, every animal they saw scurried off into the bushes as the two approached.”
This is charming book that can be appreciated by both children and adults and would make a good “family read” to enjoy together. It will appeal to readers age 9 and up who are interested in Chinese culture and customs, and who appreciate fables and folktales.
Add this book to your collection: Chinese Fables: TheDragon Slayer and Other Timeless Tales of Wisdom
About the Reviewer
Chinese Fables: TheDragon Slayer and Other Timeless Tales of Wisdom was reviewed by Elizabeth Varadan.