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Paperback Lon Po Po Book

ISBN: 0698113829

ISBN13: 9780698113824

Lon Po Po

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

WINNER OF THE RANDOLPH CALDECOTT MEDAL, AWARDED TO THE ARTIST OF THE MOST DISTINGUISHED AMERICAN PICTURE BOOK OF THE YEAR "(Young's) command of page composition and his sensitive use of color give the book a visual force that matches the strength of the story and stands as one of the illustrator's best efforts." -- Booklist "Absolutely splendid." -- Kirkus Reviews . "An extraordinary and powerful book." -- Publisher's Weekly The now-classic Chinese...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The big bad wolf strikes again

This translation and retelling of "A Red-Riding Hood Story from China" is very nicely done, having been a recipient of a 1990 Caldecott Medal. The author does preface the book with a dedication which is worth mentioning: "To all the wolves of the world for lending their good name as a tangible symbol for our darkness." While the trickster is eventually duped by his three young "victims," I think that the story expresses a poignant death for the wolf: "Not only did the wolf bump his head, but he broke his heart to pieces." On the whole, I found the story to be beautiful and yet melancholy. From my Dakota (Sioux) culture, where wolves are not viewed as the personfication of evil or darkness, I can only wonder if others feel any sympathy for the wolf.

Nice is different than good

Like film awards, book awards rarely go to an artist's best work. Usually if a picture book has won a Caldecott medal you can sift through the author and illustrator's other books and inevitably find something far more deserving. This is true of almost every author/illustrator, save one. Ed Young has had a varied and fabulous career. From his spectacular "Seven Blind Mice" to his insipid and poorly drawn "Turkey Girl" he's run the gamut from "Yippee!" to "Bleach!". But his Caldecott winning "Lon Po Po" falls squarely into the "Yippee!" category. To my mind, it is his best work. A stunning edition of the Chinese tale of Lon Po Po, this story weaves elements of Grimm Fairy Tales with "Little Red Riding Hood" and comes out swinging. One day a mother leaves her three daughters to visit their grandmother on her birthday. Before she leaves she instructs the girls to lock the doors soundly after she is gone. The girls do so but a wily wolf has overheard that the mother will be leaving. The wolf disguises himself as an old woman and knocks on the door. When asked who he is, he responds that he is their grandmother (or "Po Po") come to stay with them. The children foolishly let the animal in and he quickly douses the lights. After many questions about the supposed grandmother's bushy tail and sharp claws the eldest and cleverest daughter catches sight of the wolf's snout and must find a way to save her sisters. Not only does she succeed, but she also finds a way to get rid of the wolf forever. In the dedication of this book, Ed Young writes, "To all the wolves of the world for lending their good name as a tangible symbol for our darkness". This was written in part, I suspect, to appease the wolf lovers of the world. Much like the old fairy tales of European folklore, this tale has its fair share of violence. The wolf's end, for example, is a particularly nasty way to go. And because it has been created so realistically in this book, I suspect that there are probably some animal advocates who will take offense at his death. Nonetheless, we're not dealing with reality here, people. We're dealing with fairy tales and in these stories wolves are (as Young himself said) representative of our own evil. The story is translated by Young himself and is done beautifully. The words in this tale sing. Yet even the best laid plotting can be undone by poor illustrations. In this particular case, you've nothing to fear because Young has bent over backwards to bring you absolute breathtaking beauty. Combining watercolors with pastels, the book is simultaneously gorgeous and frightening. It may take a couple readings, but if you look carefully in some of these pictures you will find wolf images hidden in the landscapes and backgrounds of a great many scenes. The first spread in this book is of the mother leaving her children. As she goes, the land beneath her feet is shaped like that of a wolf's nose, the cottage the eye of the animal. Of

Young's hidden images

Like many of Ed Young's books, there are hidden images in the pictures. In this book, the images are of a wolf's head. One has to look sharply but they are there. Look carefully at the picture of the wolf looking up. Then take another look at the children in the tree pulling the wolf up in the basket.

Beautiful Opportunity to Learn About Comparative Literature

Many people never have the opportunity to compare literatures from different cultures. Lon Po Po offers a rare chance for a 4-8 year old to have that experience. The book is gorgeously illustrated in panels of stunning shades of shifting color, providing the feeling of an oriental screen. The images themselves seem to be rendered in pastels and grease sticks. It was no surprise to me that this book won the Caldecott Medal in 1990 for the best illustrated children's book. It is one of the very best of such medalists that I have seen.In the book, mother leaves to visit grandmother for her birthday leaving her three daughters, Shang, Tao, and Paotze home alone. "Remember to close the door tight at sunset and latch it well." An old wolf sees the mother leave. He dresses up like an old woman and after dark knocks on the door. "Bang, bang." He says, "This is your grandmother, your Po Po." Shang challenges him, and the wolf lies. Tao and Paotze let him in, and the wolf blows out the candle so he could not be seen. He gives the two girls who let him in a hug, and they all go to bed together.Shang notices that "your foot has a brush on it" referring to his tail. He replies that they are "hemp strings to weave you a basket." She then mentions that "your hand has thorns on it" referring to his claws. He responds that it is an "awl to make shoes for you." Shang figures something is wrong. She asks the wolf if he has ever eaten gingko nuts. He says not. The children offer to get him some. Once in the tree, Shang tells her sisters they have a wolf. They lure the wolf into a basket held by a rope and pull him up into the tree. Then they drop him repeatedly until he dies from the fall. The girls share their story with their mother when she returns the next day. As you can see, the story is much like Little Red Riding Hood. No one is harmed by the wolf, which makes the story a little less terrifying and horrible. The battle of wits is significant here, as in Little Red Riding Hood. The book also displays the issues involved around children being home alone, and the need for children to communicate and cooperate with each other. Shang probably would not have let the wolf in. After you finish enjoying the story and its illustrations and thinking about how it differs from Little Red Riding Hood, I suggest you also think about why stories about wild animals attacking from the woods are common to many cultures. Why do you think these stories were told originally? Why have they persisted in having appeal? Do you think they will be popular 1000 years from now? Why?Enjoy and appreciate differences!

A familiar but not-familiar tale.

This children's book is a story similar to the classic "Red-Riding Hood" story except that it is based an a folktale from China. A mother has to leave her three children in a house and a wolf tries to take advantage but the children are able to use their wits. The book won the 1990 Caldecott Medal for best illustrations in a book for children and it is beautifully illustrated.
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