cover image The Journey of Meng

The Journey of Meng

Doreen Rappaport. Dial Books, $13.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0895-2

Meng joins the ranks of strong female heroines that people the growing number of multicultural folktales finding their way into print. This classic Chinese legend chronicles the young bride's perilous journey to find her husband, a scholar who, like thousands of others, has been press-ganged into labor on the Great Wall. Her search ends sadly: like so many other conscripts, Wan is dead, his bones buried in a section of the wall. There's a touch of magic in the tale, and Meng's confrontation with the evil Emperor and her final, tragic act speak of her courage and loyalty. Splendidly capturing the story's poignancy and exotic locale, Rappaport's polished retelling is amplified and highlighted by Ming-Yi's subtly shaded watercolors--artwork as delicate as fine porcelain. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)