The author's childhood fascination with the classic blue and white willow pattern on a jug owned by his parents inspired this absorbing and distinctive story told within the willow pattern itself. Drummond begins by visually orienting his audience above a willow pattern cup and saucer, drawing readers around and into the intricate design as he tells of a star-crossed Chinese couple, Koong Shee and Chang. Gradually, the pattern's various elements are brought to life: the pagoda is Koong Shee's home; the bridge and boat are the means by which the pair escape the wrath of Koong Shee's father, who opposes their match and ultimately captures them; and the hovering birds become the lovers, eternally reunited after their deaths. The curved borders at the bottom of several pages serve as subtle reminders of the story's backdrop, but Drummond overcomes this potential restriction by elaborating on it for dramatic effect. One particularly striking spread portrays the lovers imprisoned by Koong Shee's father by being pushed off the center of the page/plate into the bordering maze. An afterword details the pattern's history. This ingenious use of uncommon source material may inspire readers to watch for hidden stories in everyday objects. All ages. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1992 Release date: 09/01/1992 Genre: Children's
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