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When Yeh Hsien brings home a beautiful fish, her jealous stepmother plots to kill it and serve it for supper. But the fishbones are magic wishbones and grant Yeh Hsien all she could want. The familiar elements of Cinderella are skillfully woven with the mystery and grace of the Far East. Full-color illustrations.
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Barbara Ker Wilson is a well-known reviewer, writer and publisher, with a long-standing interest in folklore. She now lives in Australia.
Kindergarten-Grade 6-Another version of the Chinese Cinderella story that will be familiar to readers of Al-Ling Louie's Yeh Shen (Philomel, 1990). The story comes from aboriginal tribes in the area of Yongzhou in what is now Guangxi province, and was first redacted by the Tang Dynasty scholar Duan Cheng-shi in the mid-800s. Besides the obligatory stepmother and stepsister, Yeh Hsien (as romanized here) has a pet fish as a wise confidant. The stepmother secretly kills and eats it, but a spirit tells Yeh Hsien where to find the bones, which turn out to be magic, laying the groundwork for the happy ending. Wilson's retelling is clever, as is her chosen title, and reads aloud well. More details are included, such as Yeh Hsien's new husband wearing out the bones's magic, without impairing the tale's momentum. So's magical watercolor illustrations are bright, vibrant, and droll. The stepmother and stepsister often mirror each other's actions with comic effect. The free, folksy style draws on Chinese and non-Han motifs, being influenced as well by modern Chinese masters, notably Qi Bai-shi. Children will delight in this clever retelling and be dazzled by the truly splendid illustrations.
John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Paperback. Condition: Good. Seller Inventory # PL01637429B
Book Description Frances Lincoln Childrens Books, 1993. Condition: Good. This book has hardback covers. Ex-library, With usual stamps and markings, In good all round condition. No dust jacket. Seller Inventory # 2781797