The Emperor's Garden

Ferida Wolff, Author, Kathy Osborn, Illustrator Tambourine Books $15 (1p) ISBN 978-0-688-11651-4
Discord visits the ``poor but very agreeable'' people of a small Chinese village after they build a garden in honor of the emperor. Each villager wants to name it for his own contribution: the ditchdigger suggests the ``Round Pond Garden,'' the stonecutter proposes the ``Garden Through the Carved Gate,'' and so forth. They cannot agree. Then the monsoons come, soon followed by the emperor himself. Though the villagers think the garden has been ruined by the rains, the emperor has a different perspective-he proclaims that ``all things [in the garden] come together in perfect agreement,'' and names it the ``Garden of Supreme Harmony.'' The villagers then reunite to tidy the garden. Harmony brought about by an act of nature rather than by the resolution of individual conflicts may be less than edifying, but Wolff (Seven Loaves of Bread) at least demonstrates how easily harmony can be destroyed. Strongly colored and eccentrically skewed illustrations by New Yorker artist Osborn (Once Upon a Princess and a Pea) wryly underline the comedy and add a markedly original flavor. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/29/1994
Release date: 09/01/1994
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-688-11652-1
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