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Chinese Children's Favorite Stories Hardcover – January 15, 2005


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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 8
  • Series: Children's Favorite Stories
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Hardcover with Jacket edition (January 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804835896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804835893
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 8.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 2–A collection of 13 traditional "thousand-year-old" stories. In her introduction, Yip fondly acknowledges her father's role as family storyteller as the inspiration for this book. Some stories will be familiar, such as "The Mouse Bride," though this version is a little different from Lida Dijkstra's Little Mouse (Front St, 2004) and Ed Young's Mouse Match (Harcourt, 1997). Other selections include traditional Chinese elements such as dragons and the mischievous monkey king. Like fables, these tales have morsels of wisdom to impart, and almost all have a close connection with the natural world. Explanations of cultural elements are nicely incorporated into the text, such as the qin, a musical instrument. Yip's writing is clear and accessible to children, and the bright pastel illustrations are appealing. An attractive addition for larger collections.–Robin L. Gibson, formerly at Perry County District Library, New Lexington, OH

From Booklist

Gr. 3-5, younger for reading aloud. These 13 stories feature talking animals, a ghost catcher, a trickster fox, the River Dragon King, and the mischievous monkey Wu Kong, as well as cowherds, scholars, musicians, and emperors. Some tales have morals; others explain customs or traditions. Most are familiar, but no sources are cited other than the author's storytelling father. The art has a traditional Chinese look, with conventional landscapes, animals, and roly-poly, cherubic children. A small ghost peeks out from the binding after one ghost story. Storytellers may prefer other collections of Chinese folklore, but children will be drawn by the abundant colorful illustrations and the short, straightforward retellings. Linda Perkins
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author


Profile

Mingmei Yip grew up in Hong Kong, studied in Paris and now lives in New York City.

Mingmei is a highly regarded novelist whose work has been translated into nine languages and published in ten countries. Her most recent novel is Secret of a Thousand Beauties (Kensington Books), the story of a young woman forced into a 'marriage' with a dead man. She escapes and finds a home with a former imperial embroiderer who teaches her this art. Her students are to remain celibate, a requirement that forces them to keep their romantic life secret.

Mingmei had her first essay published when she was fifteen. Her debut novel, Peach Blossom Pavilion, the story of the last in the Chinese tradition of poet-musician-courtesans, was published by Kensington in 2008 and became an instant bestseller.

Since then, Mingmei has written seven novels. Her other novels include Skeleton Women (Femmes fatales, singer/spy, magician and gossip columnist, all scheming to survive in lawless Shanghai); Nine Fold Heaven (journey of a singer/spy trying to re-unite with her long lost lover and baby son--despite the threats of gangs); Song of the Silk Road (an adventure on the famous ancient silk route with the lure of a three-million-dollar award) and Petals from the Sky, all published by Kensington Books.

Petals from the Sky is the story of a young Chinese woman who escapes her dysfunctional family to become a Buddhist nun - only to realize she had run away from her own heart. Petals was inspired by Mingmei's life since she befriended Buddhist nuns in her youth and was once groomed to be one.


Mingmei also writes and illustrates books for children. Her Chinese Children's Favorite Stories is a delightful selection of thirteen Chinese folktales. Inspired by her father's nightly story-telling when she was a child, Yip hopes that by retelling some of these thousand-year-old Chinese stories, she can pass along Chinese culture to many readers.

Children will also enjoy Mingmei Yip's other collection Grandma Panda's China Storybook - Legends, Traditions, and Fun, also published by Tuttle.

In Chinese Children's Favorite Stories, children will discover many delightful characters--from a monkey king and moon goddess, to frogs and ghosts in stories such as:


* The Mouse Bride
* Dream of the Butterfly
* The Ghost Catcher
* The Frog Who Lived in a Well
* How the Fox Tricked the Tiger
* The Monkey King Turns the Heavenly Palace Upside Down
In Grandma Panda's China Storybook, they will enjoy the many traditional Chinese stories retold by Yip:



● Yum Yum, We Love Dim Sum (story of Chinese food)
● Grandma Panda Teaches us Chinese Writing
● Dotting the Dragon's Eyes
● The Story of Mulan, the Brave Woman Warrior
● The Little Kungfu Warriors
● The Painted Faces of Chinese Opera
● Fun with Chinese Kites
● Grandma Panda Sings an Old Farewell Song



Mingmei has appeared on over 60 TV and radio programs in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and the United Sates, as well as many newspaper interviews. She has published five prior books in Chinese and wrote columns for seven major Hong Kong newspapers. Her song lyrics have been published and performed in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the U. S.

Mingmei received her Ph. D. from the University of Paris, Sorbonne. In Hong Kong, she held faculty appointments at the Chinese University and Baptist University and has published two academic books and over fifty scholarly articles.

Reviews/ Praises for Mingmei's books:


Novels:

"A unique and enthralling style. . .flawless." - The Nine Fold Heaven, Baltimore Books Examiner

"A guilty pleasure...This is a large box of chocolates..." Skeleton Women, RTBook, 4 starred review.

"Poignant and often heartbreaking story captivating mix of worldly and ethereal, mystery and drama." Skeleton Women, Bookclub.BarnesandNoble.com

"Yip's lively novel manages to be at once modern and traditional...surprising and often funny...part epic, part modern fairy tale." Song of the Silk Road, Publisher's Weekly

"A serious, engaging of faith, devotion, and the commingling of culture." Petals from the Sky, Booklist

"From a prodigiously talented Chinese author comes a marvelous novel about a woman who becomes China's most successful courtesan. Yip's work echoes "Memoirs of a Geisha," but with a sharper, more suspenseful pace." Peach Blossom Pavilion, Powell's Books

"Mingmei Yip has written an enchanting debut novel which tells the story of the last surviving Chinese courtesan....transporting us to another place and time where prostitutes were glamorous, elegant and cultured women that were well-versed in the arts..." Peach Blossom Pavilion, Asiance Magazine

"Yip's atmospheric tale is elevated above fantastical escape through its cunning, empowered narrator, a woman who refuses to be "but a captive, whose limbs could be twisted to adopt the most obsequious posture in life as well as in bed," and instead fights to improve her fate...." Peach Blossom Pavilion, Honolulu Advertiser


Praises for Mingmei's Children's Books:

"These 13 stories feature talking animals, a ghost catcher, a trickster fox, the Dragon King, and the mischievous Monkey King and many more. Some tales have morals, others explain customs or traditions. Children will be drawn by the abundant colorful illustrations and the short, straightforward retellings." Chinese Children's Favorite Stories, School Library Journal

"A delightful selection from the rich store of Chinese folklore and legend. Many delightful animal characters..... Retold for an international audience, the beautifully illustrated stories will give children a glimpse into both the tradition and culture of China." Chinese Children's Favorite Stories, Harvard Book Store



Interview with Mingmei Yip

Tell us about the novels you wrote

I've always been fascinated by women who use their beauty, talent, and especially intelligence to achieve impossible deeds. My novels are about such strong, diligent, unflinching women who worked against all odds and succeeded.
I like happy endings because life, as Buddhism says, is already full of suffering, so why add to it with an unhappy ending? How we can navigate our way across the sea of suffering to the other shore of happiness, is what I am interested to write about. I want my readers feel uplifted after they read my books, to know that in life, struggles are unavoidable but it is usually in our power to make them end well. There are happy outcomes in life, too, not just in fiction. Nevertheless, getting to the happy outcome requires that we use our judgment in deciding when to strive and when to just go with the flow.
In doing so, we can learn compassion and wisdom.


Will you talk about the style in which you write - do you have rules you follow, or is the story the form?

I don't think about rules when I write. I never outline but let the characters lead me along. Writing a novel, the first thing I need is an exciting situation. For my debut novel Peach Blossom Pavilion, I decided to write about the last Chinese geisha. My second novel Petals from the Sky I had this idea of a would-be nun who helplessly falls in love. My third novel Song of the Silk Road is the self-discovery journey of an aspiring writer turned adventurer.

When it is time to write my next book, ideas somehow pop into my head and I just plunge into writing. I had the benefit of growing up in Hong Kong where Chinese have been telling each other stories for more than 3,000 years and I heard many growing up. Often these inspire my novels.

What is your writing process?
I love to write in my own small room in our New York apartment. The windows face uptown and the East River - giving a perfect balance of yin and yang. Whenever I need to refresh myself after long hours of writing, I just look up from my computer screen and enjoy the view from my window. I am fortune to have read a lot and traveled a lot and so these experiences provide my inspiration. The great Chinese poet, Du Fu (712-770) said, "After you have read 10,000 books and traveled 10,000 miles, your writing will be aided by the gods." I have more than 10,000 frequent flyer miles, but I am still working on the 10,000 books.

You were a columnist in several newspapers, so can you tell us a little bit about those experiences.
When I was a professor in Hong Kong, I wrote columns and essays both in English and Chinese on art, music, and poetry. Over the years I wrote for a total of seven newspapers. Most were weekly but for two or three years I did daily columns as well. Writing a daily column is an invaluable experiences for a writer - no matter if you are sick or just not in the mood, you still have to churn out the words, day after day. You can't falter because one or two bad columns and you may lose your readers - and your place in the paper.

What is next for you?
My new novel is Secret of a Thousand Beauties, about one woman's defiant pursuit of independence during 1930s China. It is set in scenic Suzhou and cosmopolitan Beijing at a time when one's next door neighbor might have been an embroiderer for the last emperor.

This was an era of great creative ferment, but also great turmoil with modernizers, revolutionaries, and gangsters vying to determine China's future. Women were attaining more freedom, but the old oppressions, such as the ghost marriage described in the novel, persisted.
Spring Swallow, refusing to accept her fate as the bride of a ghost - a dead man -- flees on her wedding day. She later joins a community of supposedly celibate women embroiderers led by Aunty Peony, whose exquisite stitching once earned her the Emperor's love. Spring Swallow draws on the secret techniques learned from Aunty Peony to forge a life that is truly her own.
I enjoyed researching the lives of these talented but anonymous women and hope my readers will get as much enjoyment from reading about them.


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Children and adults will enjoy this book.
Lin Fong-O'Neill
And her illustrations are very colorful and eye-catching as well.
Jennifer J. Timmons
My daughter, whom we adopted from China, loves this book.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer J. Timmons on August 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Mingmei Yip is an excellent writer--very engaging. And her illustrations are very colorful and eye-catching as well. I was looking for books to introduce Chinese culture to my young nieces, nephews, and cousins, and I can definitely recommend this one. I couldn't put it down myself, late one night! I had checked out a slew of books from the library, but only some met my criteria of excellent writing and good pictures. Some had one or the other: this one had BOTH. I don't give anything I wouldn't want myself...I sure wish I had this when I was growing up! Adults can enjoy this, too.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lin Fong-O'Neill on October 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
These beautifully told and illustrated stories brought me back to my bedside at my childhood. My parents had told me similar tales of bravery, honors and resilience. Not only those lessons has guided me through life, I taught my child the same values. Children and adults will enjoy this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. Welenson on April 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We have been reading a different story from the book each night. They are a good legnth for bedtime. My daughter is adopted from China and is usually not that receptive to reading books with Chinese subject matter, but she loves this book. All of the stories are new to us, too. The pictures are colorful and nicely detailed.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Reflection Haiku on July 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A collection of thirteen stories that I grew up with(Taiwan) and love to pass down to my children, this colorful volume, with authentic Chinese-style drawings, brings back to life legends and tales that feature wise scholars, talking animals, emperors and goddesses. These thousand-year old stories are written to educate young minds to do good deeds and cultivate moral wisdom. Straightforward plots reinforce the lessons learnt from famous stories like "The Frog who Lived in the Well", "Dream of the Butterfly (kid's version of Chuang Tzu's philosophical tale)", "Carp Jumping Over the Dragon Gate", "Chang-E Flies to the Moon" and "The Monkey King". Every region may have slightly varied versions, but this favorite book has done an amazing job and we look forward to reading more.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By L. Graham on June 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I buy a lot of books for my daughter about many different cultures and this is one of our favourites. Well written and entertaining for adults and children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By paulkh on May 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As another reviewer mentioned the length of these stories is perfect for a bedtime story. The choice of stories are all classic Chinese stories which are ingrained in Chinese culture. The illustrationd are all very striking and the short explanations of how these stories are remembered today was very educational for a Westerner living in Taiwan like myself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter, whom we adopted from China, loves this book. It is one of her favorites at bedtime. She loves hearing the classic Chinese fables. The artwork is very nice as well.
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My kids really like this book and pick it out a lot as bedtime reading. A couple of the stories, like a ghost story, I don't read as a bedtime story. The illustrations are quite colorful and lovely. It's been good, in my mind, for expanding my children's (4 and 6 y/o) exposure to different cultures.
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