The Beggar's Magic: A Chinese Tale

3.93 avg rating
( 15 ratings by GoodReads )
 
9780689813405: The Beggar's Magic: A Chinese Tale

A cautionary tale from ancient China--full of contemporary appeal. A greedy, selfish farmer gets up comeuppance at the August Moon Festival, when the kindly beggar priest whom he has slighted performs a magic trick that makes the farmer a laughingstock of the village. Full color.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

The Changs (The Cricket Warrior, 1994, etc.) retell an ancient Chinese tale about selfishness and sharing, set to luminous illustrations by Johnson. A holy beggar-priest comes to young Fu Nan's village. The boy and his friends are fascinated by the old man, whose cheer and care for all creatures impress them as much as the magic he works: drawing a sparrow that escapes from the page as a real sparrow escapes from a boy's cage; filling an old widow's dry well with water. When the August Moon Festival arrives, and rich Farmer Wu refuses to give a sweet, ripe pear to the priest, the holy beggar takes a pear seed, astonishing the crowd and admonishing the selfish farmer in one act of conjuring. Johnson's ink, watercolor, and colored-pencil illustrations have the pale luster of Chinese silk; his sure rendering of animals, fruit, and flowers, and his use of flat space and elegant line, are inspired by Chinese painting and calligraphy. The book is as satisfying as unselfishness rewarded fully and meanness punished neatly. (Picture book/folklore. 5-9) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review:

Fu Nan befriends an elderly beggar who walks into his village. Gradually he learns that there is more to this beggar than his aspect suggests. Callous Farmer Wu does not look beneath surface appearances, however - until he is forced to do so. With a soft beige palate highlighted with orange and red, the artist expands this cautionary tale with a minimum of sketchy lines and a maximum of captured body language expressing emotion. Parents' Choice Recommended. -- From Parents' Choice®

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