cover image The Seven Chinese Brothers

The Seven Chinese Brothers

Margaret Mahy. Scholastic, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-42055-6

In colorful language well suited to a story of ingenuity and valor, Mahy presents the Chinese folktale about brothers with amazing powers. Although the broad outline is the same as The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop, illustrated by Kurt Wiese (first published in 1938), Mahy's stirring retelling is very different from and just as good as the earlier effort. She has elaborated on the story, spicing it with more action and adding ironic humor. Replete with striking character portraits, the Tsengs' dramatic watercolors evoke the Orient and provide authentic, historical details. As in all fine picture books, text and illustrations blend, creating an inviting world for young readers and listeners and heightening the story's dramatic impact. Children will be caught up in the many narrow escapes and will benefit from the subtle lesson on the importance of working together. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)