cover image The Jade Stone: A Chinese Folktale

The Jade Stone: A Chinese Folktale

Caryn Yacowitz. First Glance Books, $14.95 (36pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0919-8

This solid retelling of a traditional Chinese folktale concerns artistic integrity. A stone carver can't carve the dragon out of the ``perfect piece of green and white jade stone,'' as the Great Emperor of All China has commanded, because a dragon is not what the stone innately ``wants'' to be. The entire kingdom is in an uproar, and still the craftsman insists on following his creative instincts--to his death, if necessary. Though this moral tale has a timeless--and somewhat timely--quality, its visual presentation is weak. Chen's authentic drawings, while subtle, lack dramatic power; the overall design of the book is bland and does not set off the illustrations; and the interior typeface does not complement the art. The story will read aloud well, and perhaps children will not notice the lack of artistry in the book's overall appearance. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)