Dear Kathy Tucker and Grace Lin,

The Seven Chinese Sisters The Seven Chinese Sisters is a retelling of a rhythmic tale I already know and adored as a child in the form of The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop, illustrated by Kurt Wiese.  It was later retold in The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Mou-sien Tseng and Jean Tseng, and probably has made other appearances in the American children’s book industry as well.  Your version, though, left a little bit to be desired.  It was a feminine version than the feminist version of the story I’d hoped for, but okay, that’s not necessarily the end of the world.  Tne ending rankled me a little, though.  After the sisters discover that the baby-stealing dragon is actually just sad and skinny and hungry, they go home to have a meal of delicious noodle soup themselves, and never go back to give some to the poor starving dragon.  They say that they will, tomorrow, but that’s not quite enough in a story that comes from such a patterned source.  The Chinese brother stories are full of repetition and follow-through, and it seems like a disservice to end the Chinese sisters’ story before they’ve solved both their problem (the dragon stealing Seventh Sister) and the dragon’s problem.  On a bright note, the art is very sweet and whimsical, simple in a childlike way that appeals to me and gives the story a very friendly feel in spite of the baby-stealing.  I’m so attached to this story’s forebears, though, that I have to give it three stars in comparison for the disappointing end.

Love,

apple

Wanna check out this title for yourself?  Try the Indie Bound or ABC bookstore finders!

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