cover image The Jade Horse, the Cricket, and the Peach Stone

The Jade Horse, the Cricket, and the Peach Stone

Ann Tompert. Boyds Mills Press, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-56397-239-3

The people of the poor village of Yang must find a gift to present to Wu Ti, the new emperor of the Middle Kingdom. Fortune seems to shine upon them when a fisher boy, Pan Su, catches a jade horse in his net--the perfect present. So Pan Su sets off for the emperor's palace. Along the way he loses his horse and ends up with only a peach to give to Wu Ti. How can he convince the great man that this lowly gift will bring him joy for the rest of his life? Tompert's (Bamboo Hats and a Rice Cake) wisdom tale incorporates familiar aspects of classic folk and fairy tales yet retains its own poignant depth. Dramatically lit but otherwise realistic acrylics contrast the simple paddy fields of Yang with the rich majesty of the emperor's palace. Also interesting is an unusual ""ghosting"" technique that causes background details to fade away, often into a violet haze. Ages 6-9. (Sept.)