The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale

Ying Chang Compestine, illus. by Sebastià Serra, Dutton, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-42068-2
Inspired by the Danish folktale, The Talking Pot, Compestine's (Boy Dumplings) jaunty story takes place long ago in Beijing, which Serra (A Pirate's Night Before Christmas) portrays as a bustling, cheerful village. On Chinese New Year's Eve, a poor couple send their son to market to trade their last eggs for rice so they can make a meal for their neighbors. Instead, Ming swaps the eggs for a smiling, singing wok that boasts, "I am more than what you see!" The wok hops off to the home of a stingy rich family whose servants fill it with food, then delivers the feast to the needy family, chanting, "Skippity-hoppity-ho!/ To the poor man's house I go." After the sneaky wok brings them the greedy rich son's toys and gold the man has cheated others out of, Ming's family shares their bounty with poor villagers. The sight of the insouciant wok carrying away the miserly family—stuck inside headfirst, legs waving in the air—will make kids snicker. They'll also chime in, since the wok's refrain begs for audience participation. Ages 6–8. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/29/2010
Release date: 01/01/2011
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