Lon Po Po: A Red Riding Hood Story from China- 3 sisters set off with leftovers to visit their grandmother. The wolf, Lon Po Po, pretends to be their grandmother, but the girls are not fooled. They lure Lon Po Po to the top of a tree by tempting him with gingko nuts. But before he reaches the top they release the rope supporting him, causing the wolf to fall to his death. The illustrations are rich and in true Chinese tradition bring the story to life.
The Lost Horse: A Chinese Folktale- A man named Sai loses his horse. People around him console him by saying “You know, it may not be such a bad thing.” In a turn of events, the loss of his horse actually benefits Sai. His horse returns with a mare but Sai said”Perhaps it is not such a good thing” which turns out to be true as the mare throws Sai’s son. This repetition reiterates itself until the end of the story at which time the moral is learned life is ever changing.
Cat and Rat: The legend of the Chinese Zodiac- The Emperor instructs all the animals to race each other. Their prize will be that they will be added to a calendar that repeats itself every 12 years, the Chinese Zodiac Calendar. The story is lively as it speaks of the competition and in contrast the illustrations are understated. Ed Young uses the contrast of colors in his illustrations, using mostly dark silhouettes.
The Sons of Dragon King: A Chinese Legend- The Dragon King sends his nine sons off into the worked to find their true calling in life. When he checked in on them, he is disturbed to find what he believes to be laziness and self-indulgence. He looks closely thought and realizes each of his sons desires can be used as a source of income, One loud son can be a musician while another’s keen observation could be used to protect others from danger. Some of the connections are less obvious than others, which is why this book is more suitable for an upper elementary audience.
Monkey King- The monkey King is the tale of a trickster monkey. He uses his spryness to outwit others, causing him to be disliked by some. He is employed by the Jade Emperor to steal the forbidden immortal peaches from a tree and he eats them all. He is punished by being trapped by the Buddha for 500 years. When he is released he has grown emotionally, but who knows how long this will last. His understated illustrations are considered by some to be confusing while by others’ accounts lets the reader imagine what they will from the story.