The Story of Chopsticks

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9780823415267: The Story of Chopsticks
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When little Kai Kang cannot get enough to eat, he begins using sticks to grab food too hot for the hands, and soon all of China uses Kai zi, or chopsticks, in a humorous tale of how chopsticks may have been invented.

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About the Author:

Ying Chang Compestine was born in China and later moved to the United states. She is the author of The Runaway Rice Cake and several cookbooks, including Cooking with Green Tea. Ms. Compestine got the idea for The Story of Chopsticks by watching her young son eat with his chopsticks. She lives in Colorado.

From School Library Journal:

K-Gr 3-A Chinese-American cookbook author invents an explanation for the origin of chopsticks. Long ago, Compestine tells readers, when "all Chinese people ate with their hands," Keai (Quick), the youngest of three boys, was never fast enough to grab some nourishment before his brothers. In desperation born of hunger, he pulled two sticks from the kindling pile and used them to spear chunks of hot food. His family members immediately copied the tools and named them Keai zi (quick ones) after him. When they were invited to a wedding banquet, the brothers, wielding their sticks, gobbled up the delicious, festive dishes. The village children caught on quickly, but the elders had to consider whether using the new implements conflicted with established etiquette. An author's note offers facts about the history of chopsticks, explains how to hold them, describes good table manners in a Confucian context, and gives a simple recipe for one of the dishes served at the wedding feast. Xuan's handsome illustrations, boldly colored cut-paper designs recalling a traditional Chinese art, are abstract enough to suggest the "high and far-off times" of this modern pourquoi tale, yet lively enough to engage viewers. Unlike the spurious "Chop-Sticks," in Arthur B. Chrisman's Shen of the Sea (Dutton, 1968), this story is rooted in Chinese culture and offers American readers an authentic glimpse of its traditions.

Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Ying Chang Compestine, YongSheng Xuan (Illustrator)
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Ying Chang Compestine
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