cover image Fu Finds the Way

Fu Finds the Way

John Rocco, . . Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-1-4231-0965-5

Fu, a rebellious Chinese farm boy, accidentally provokes the warrior Chang, who challenges him to a duel. With one night to prepare, Fu seeks tutelage from a silver-bearded Master, but the training take a surreal turn when the Master instructs Fu not in swordplay but in how to pour tea. The Master's neck stretches toward Fu like the body of a serpent as he says, “Just as bamboo grows upward to meet the sun's rays, you too must have purpose when pouring tea.” Fu finds himself rowing downstream on a tea leaf; later he appears inside a teapot, looking up at a gigantic Master. “This is crazy,” thinks Fu, but his magical lessons, which teach him the virtue of mental focus, enable him to face Chang armed only with a tea set. Rocco (Wolf! Wolf! ) paints rice paddies and jagged mountains with a palette of hazy yellow-greens and browns, using panels and dramatic perspectives to cinematic effect. While the intricacies of the tea ceremony may be unfamiliar to readers, Rocco's prose is concise and he has a wealth of ways to convey information visually in this off-beat tale. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)