The Voice of the Great Bell

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9780316367912: The Voice of the Great Bell

A Chinese bell-maker's daughter makes a noble sacrifice so that the casting of The Great Bell for the emperor will be flawless.

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From School Library Journal:

Grade 2-6-- The Emperor of China, Son of Heaven, commanded that a bell be made, strengthened with brass, deepened with gold, and sweetened with silver, large enough to be heard for 100 miles. This commission he gave to a worthy man, Kouan-Yu, who assembled the most famous bell-makers in the empire. Although they toiled day and night, the metals would not blend, and fell apart twice. The angry emperor threatened to execute Kouan-Yu should the third try fail. Ko-Ngai, Kouan-Yu's pure and beautiful daughter, learned that the metals would never blend unless "a pure maiden is melted with them in the crucible." Ko-Ngai gave her life to save her father's, the metals blended, and to this day her voice can be heard in the bell--"Ko-Ngai." Hodges adapted the tale in the collection Tell It Again (Dial, 1963; o.p.) from Lafcadio Hearn's "The Soul of the Great Bell". She does justice to Hearn's moving prose. Young's vibrant watercolor-and-pastel illustrations are among his best work and perfectly suited to the text. His pictures are impressionistic, thankfully, for martyrdom is not pretty. Classic storytelling, not for the youngest, but thrilling for older children. --Helen Gregory, Grosse Pointe Public Library, MI
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

A haunting cover illustration gives way to the story of a legend associated with the Great Bell of Beijing. Nearly 500 years ago, the Emperor of China, Sun of Heaven, commanded Kouan-Yu to gather together worthy men to create the greatest of bells, "strengthened with brass, deepened with gold, sweetened with silver." But the metals will not blend; when the cast is made and the mold removed, the bell falls apart. When a second attempt also fails, Sun of Heaven threatens Kouan-Yu with death. Kouan-Yu's daughter, Ko-Ngai, discovers that the only way the metals will bond is if a pure young maiden is thrown into the molten mass. She sacrifices herself, and to this day, when the bell tolls, it calls her name. Hearn's story, first evocatively retold by Hodges in 1963, is stunningly illustrated by Young. Swirling, fiery colors heighten the drama, symbolized with images: the hands of a master bellmaker, Ko-Ngai's eyes during her fearful vigil, the faces of the workers attempting the impossible. Ages 5-9.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Margaret Hodges; Lafcadio Hearn; Illustrator-Ed Young
Published by Little Brown & Co (Juv) (1989)
ISBN 10: 0316367915 ISBN 13: 9780316367912
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