Da Wei's Treasure: A Chinese Tale

Margaret S. Chang, Author, Raymond Chang, Author, Lori McElrath-Eslick, Illustrator Margaret K. McElderry Books $16 (32p) ISBN 978-0-689-81835-6
This unusual folktale set in northern China blends elements of The Crane Wife with magic, mystery and romance into a quietly uplifting story. When Da Wei's peasant father dies, he bequeaths to the boy his only valuable possession: a mountain-shaped rock with a miniature house perched at its crest, given to him by a fisherman. One day a cart descends from the rock's peak, grows in size and ultimately leads the boy to the seaside village where his father met the fisherman. There the ocean magically parts, revealing a path to a mansion. Hosted and fed sumptuously in the mansion by an orange kitten, Da Wei takes the feline home with him. Soon meals mysteriously appear on his table, and Da Wei sneaks back from the fields early one afternoon to discover the source of his good fortune. He spies a beautiful young woman, Lian Di, and a fairy tale ending follows. The Changs' (The Beggar's Magic) eloquent retelling weaves together familiar strands of classic tales into a fresh story that brings home the theme of goodness rewarded. While the characters of McElrath-Eslick's (Does God Know How to Tie Shoes?) oil paintings look somewhat inconsistent, a close-up of Da Wei at the moment when his father's gift begins its supernatural transformation and a view of the boy reaching the seaside village are standouts. Ages 5-9. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/03/1999
Release date: 05/01/1999
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