Dream-of-Jade: The Emperor's Cat

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9780812627367: Dream-of-Jade: The Emperor's Cat
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No ordinary man is permitted to see the great Kwan-Yu, emperor of China, but this doesn't stop the beautiful, green-eyed Dream-of-Jade, since she is not an ordinary man, but a rather unusual cat. When Dream-of-Jade decides she wants to see His Highness, she simply slips into the empty throne room and sits upon the imperial throne. When Kwan-Yu arrives, she does not give up her seat, but does point out the dangerous state of the emperor’s ceiling. Thus begins the great friendship between an Emperor and a little white cat, who not only saves the emperor’s life at their first meeting, but knows how to cure his ailments, make him laugh, and entertain him, and whose greatest wish is to make Kwan-Yu the best emperor ever to rule China.

Lloyd Alexander has written this little masterpiece filled with details from ancient Chinese court life. With his sharp wit, tongue-in-cheek humor, and good-natured satire, he exposes the rigidity of ancient imperial customs and traditions. Dream-of-Jade’s no-nonsense solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems delight children and adults alike, making this tale an unforgettable reading adventure for the entire family.

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From Booklist:

Gr. 3--5, younger for reading aloud. No one fabricates a better make-believe kingdom than Alexander, as this story about a clever cat proves. Known for her beautiful green eyes, Dream-of-Jade lives in the forbidden city of the Celestial Emperor Kwan-Yu, upon whose grand personage no one is permitted to gaze. But Dream-of-Jade is very, very curious, and she boldly enters the emperor's throne room. Her grave offense would have cost her her life had she not saved the emperor from a falling ceiling. Five chapters, three of which were previously published in Cricket magazine in 1976, delightfully elucidate the special bond that grows between the emperor and his anointed Imperial Cat. The fairy-tale-style narrative flourishes with wily wit, details of ancient Chinese court life, and sophisticated language levied with tongue-in-cheek titles and descriptions, e.g., "Department of Lighthearted But Not-Too-Frivolous Diversions," "Yawn of Profound Uninterest," and "Imperial Couch of Blissful Repose." Finely lined, stylish paintings on marbled yellow backgrounds convey the cultural mystique, invoking both richness and absurdity. This fancy feast of delicious satire begs to be read aloud. Julie Cummins
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-4–In a fictional ancient Chinese empire, a cat named Dream-of-Jade befriends the lonely and badly advised Celestial Emperor. First she saves his life by noticing that the neglected ceiling above his throne is about to collapse, and then she teaches him the invigorating effect of a bit of physical labor. Next she introduces him to laughter and playfulness. So, little by little, Dream-of-Jade intervenes between the Emperor and his courtiers, lifting the weight of stifling tradition and meaningless ceremony from his shoulders and allowing honesty and common sense to prevail. This handsome book is illustrated with graceful pencil-and-watercolor art that adds atmosphere and emotion to Alexander's ornate prose. Because the characters speak in highly stylized, stilted language–There does, in fact, appear to be a feline creature so situated and performing the oracular activity you have so graciously called to my unworthy attention....–the book is better suited as a read-aloud than for independent reading.–Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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