Bronze and Sunflower

Cao Wenxuan, trans. from the Chinese by Helen Wang. Candlewick, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8816-5
Hans Christian Andersen Award–winner Cao’s moving story of a friendship between two lonely Chinese children, orphaned Sunflower and mute Bronze, bears all the elements of a classic: an inviting and solidly constructed setting, a close-knit family, and a kindhearted community (there’s even a pet buffalo). Traversing five years, the book is beautifully translated into lyrical prose that brings to life the riverside village of Damadai (“The glints of sunlight on the water rippled into a golden glow that rose and fell with the river”) and its inhabitants, especially Bronze’s impoverished family, who adopt Sunflower—a stranger from the city—after her father’s drowning. The two children grow inseparable, becoming each other’s protectors as the family and community persevere through the small and large dramas of life in rural China. While the story seems timeless, a closing note explains that it takes place during the Chinese Cultural Revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and describes the cadre schools that brought people like Sunflower and her father from the city to the remote countryside. Ages 9–12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 12/19/2016
Release date: 03/14/2017
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