Lord of the Cranes

Kerstin Chen, Author, J. Chen, Author, K. Chen, Author
Kerstin Chen, Author, J. Chen, Author, K. Chen, Author NorthSouth $15.95 (36p) ISBN 978-0-7358-1192-8
Paperback - 36 pages - 978-0-7358-1699-2
Paperback - 36 pages - 978-0-7358-1193-5
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-27255-1
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-81908-4
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This touching and serene retelling of a Chinese folktale from a husband-and-wife team bespeaks the virtues of kindness and hospitality through its hero, Tian (which means ""heaven""), the Lord of the Cranes. Economical prose in a smooth translation describes Tian as he leaves his home on a mountaintop, on the back of a crane, to visit the city and determine whether ""people were remembering to be kind and generous."" Disguised as a beggar, Tian takes to the streets, where wealthy people pass him without a glance. After an innkeeper takes him in day after day, giving him food and a place to rest, Tian repays him with a magical mural featuring three cranes that brings much business to the inn. The newly rich owner longs to repay Tian, who asks but one thing of him: ""Teach others to be as kind and generous to the poor as you have been to me."" The book's striking, variable design offers a pleasing visual balance of text and softly focused paintings, which feature a robust palette dominated by warm bronze and golden tones. The portraits of Tian, the innkeeper and others are more gestural than detailed, suggesting the charisma of Tian and his relationship with those around him. A fine first effort by author and illustrator, this graceful collaboration conveys both the magic and the ethics of this eloquent tale. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)
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