cover image How the Ox Star Fell from Heaven

How the Ox Star Fell from Heaven

Lily Toy Hong. Albert Whitman & Company, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-3428-1

In a text at once poetic and straightforward, Hong retells a Chinese legend that explains how oxen first came to reside on earth. She describes how these creatures once lived a life of luxury at the palace of the Emperor of All Heavens. Because the farmers on earth had no beasts to help in the fields, they never produced enough food. Taking pity on them, the emperor sent Ox Star, a trusted oxen, to inform the peasants that they would eat at least once every three days. But Ox Star bungled the message and told them that they would eat three times a day, every day. As punishment, he was banished to earth to become the first beast of burden. Hushed shades of blue, purple and bronze--with occasional splashes of bright red and orange for contrast--dominate the distinctive, boldly defined illustrations, done in gouache and airbrushed acrylics. Appearing both Oriental and timeless, this highly stylized artwork lends distinction to a striking debut. Ages 5-8. ( Apr. )