Children's Literature Pam Conrad Blue Willow

ISBN 13: 9780399229046

Blue Willow

4.24 avg rating
( 21 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780399229046: Blue Willow

When love strikes Kung Shi Fair and Chang the Good on the banks of the Wen River, they feel bound together, yet Kung Shi Fair refuses to let them be together and works to end the special romance that has just started to bloom.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Next to Gallagher's (The Selfish Giant) luminous paintings of a quaint, storybook China, this lengthy story seems contrived; the late Conrad's (The Tub People) text has an unfinished quality. She weaves in elements from the traditional legend surrounding the blue willow plate (which is of English design, not Chinese), but the development of themes and characters seem secondary to the working out of the plot. When her wealthy father opposes Kung Shi Fair's marriage to Chang the Good, a lowly fisherman, the stage is set for tragedy. Kung Shi Fair, in her boat made of cassia, fig leaves and orchid banners, bravely sails off to join her lover but drowns in the surging river. As Chang the Good tries vainly to find her, he is killed by hunters who think they are aiming at a marauding leopard. Kung Shi Fair's remorseful father commissions a blue willow plate that tells the story, "so that parents everywhere would always listen to their children, and would always, always heed what was in their children's hearts." Initially, Conrad's language is poetic and delicate. But as the intricacies of the plot multiply and the didactic intent of the story unfolds, the language becomes more prosaic and repetitious. The joy of the young lovers, the disapproval of the worried father, the fear of the villagers, all seem more apparent in the colorful art. Ages 6-10.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 3-5-During the late 1700s, Chinese porcelain and pottery were popular in England, particularly a blue-and-white plate with various design motifs. This "willow" pattern caught on and is still manufactured today. The origins of the story associated with the plate are more obscure, but all of the previous versions contain the same basic elements. When a tyrannical father refuses to let his daughter marry her humble lover, the couple escape together but are hunted down and die tragically, after which they are turned into turtle doves. The story has been successfully rendered into picture-book format by Allan Drummond in The Willow Pattern Story (North-South, 1992). This new telling maintains the basic integrity of the tale, but adds so many additional details that the text is overly long and makes for tedious reading, with little child appeal: "The next morning, Kung Shi Fair watched the rain paint little jewels on her hands as she leaned on the window....Her smile turned to tears that mingled with the rain." Gallagher's illustrations are lovely, but never quite seem to fit on their pages. The tops of heads are often missing, as in badly cropped photographs. Adults who collect willowware may find this book of interest, but children will be better served by Drummond's version.
Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Pam Conrad
Published by Philomel (1999)
ISBN 10: 0399229043 ISBN 13: 9780399229046
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Book Description Philomel, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. S. Saelig Gallagher (illustrator). book. Bookseller Inventory # M0399229043

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Pam Conrad
Published by Philomel (1999)
ISBN 10: 0399229043 ISBN 13: 9780399229046
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Book Description Philomel, 1999. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110399229043

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