"A good swordsman should appear as calm as a fine lady, but he must be capable of quick action like a surprised tiger," says a seasoned warrior to Fa Mulan, unaware that the young soldier is in fact a woman. Award-winning author Robert D. San Souci and Jean and Mou-Sien Tseng have created an elegant, visually stunning retelling of the popular Chinese legend. When Fa Mulan learns that her father has been drafted into Khan's army to fight the Tartars, she is shocked--her father is far too old and weak to go to war. She forms a brave plan, which her family reluctantly accepts, and, "At dawn she cut her hair short, put on her father's armor, and fastened his weapons to the horse's saddle."
Fa Mulan is excited and afraid, and soon finds herself engaged in fierce combat with the Tartars. She studies the art of war, and becomes skilled with the sword. As her accomplishments gain fame, she is called to appear before the Khan in the royal city of Loyang. Fearing the discovery of her true gender, Mulan is anxious about the consequences for her family. But she needn't have worried; "'General,' the Khan began, 'you have served me well and have brought honor to your family. Your deeds are enough to fill twelve books. I give you a thousand strings of copper coins as a reward. What else do you wish?'" Relieved, the woman warrior simply asks to go home.
The noble story of this legendary Chinese heroine has inspired poets, writers, artists, dramatists, and readers worldwide for centuries. This particular retelling dates back to the earliest versions of The Song of Mulan, probably composed during the Northern and Southern Dynasties (A.D. 420 to A.D. 589). San Souci's carefully researched interpretation of the ancient story is gentle, dramatic, and inspiring, and the Tsengs' beautiful, expressive watercolor paintings, bordered top and bottom like a Chinese scroll, are lovely. (Ages 7 and older) --Karin Snelson
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.