cover image The Treasure Chest: A Chinese Tale

The Treasure Chest: A Chinese Tale

Rosalind C. Wang, Rosalind C. Wand. Holiday House, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1114-6

In this gently told, handsomely rendered folktale, Wang's (The Fourth Question) blend of romance, drama and magic imbues her text with the flavor of an old-world legend. Though the stalwart Laifu plans to wed his childhood sweetheart, Pearl, her beauty has also captivated ``an evil ruler named Funtong'' who plots to marry the girl himself. Luckily, Laifu in his kindness has recently freed a magic fish that had been wedged between two rocks. In gratitude, the fish (actually the son of the Ocean King) helps Laifu defeat Funtong in a series of contests. Hillenbrand's dusty pencil-and-watercolor illustrations (inspired, according to an afterword, by the southern Sung paintings of 1200 A.D.) evoke ancient Chinese decoration, from fishing boats, thatched huts and imposing mountains to Funtong's brilliant green Halloween-mask of a face. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)