cover image Grandfather Tang's Story

Grandfather Tang's Story

Ann Tompert. Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-517-57487-4

Here's a folktale with a twist: Tompert uses tangrams, a traditional ``visual aid'' employed by Chinese storytellers, to spin a tale about two shape-changing fox fairies. Seven ``tans'' (standard-sized pieces of a square) are arranged and rearranged to represent various characters in the story. The fox fairies vie to outdo each other--the first one becomes a rabbit, the other a dog who chases him, and so on--but when the two chase each other right into danger, they finally have to set their competition aside and pull together. Parker's graceful, impressionistic illustrations have a gentle Oriental flavor, and the constantly changing tangram configurations add a novel touch. A traceable tangram is provided at the end for do-it-yourselfers. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)