"The book, written with verve and simplicity, is in a style that makes it interesting for readers of all ages. Clearly it is written by a person who really enjoys and understands his topic. It is a wonderful introduction to Chinese culture and one of the best books that I have read on Chinese folk tales."
Daily News (Bowling Green, KY)
"Yuan has done an admirable job of presenting these tales. In the book's first two parts (60 pages), he offers cultural context and a brief introduction to the language, population, history, literature, foods, games, and crafts associated with the popular culture of the Han Chinese, who make up more than 90 percent of the population of China. The writings themselves--54 folktales, myths, legends, and popular tales--take up the third part, and all are well known among the Han Chinese. Yuan distinguishes between the culture and tales of the Han Chinese and the cultures and tales of minority ethnic Chinese. He will treat the latter in a second volume, tentatively titled Princess Peacock and Tales of Other Chinese Peoples (forthcoming, 2007). Two appendixes, Chinese Proverbs and Motifs and Tale Sources, plus the glossary and references make this book useful to both scholars and the uninitiated. Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers."
"The author balances traditionality and modern transformations of customs, performing arts, music, games, and storytelling to convey a dynamic picture of their historical development. The brevity of the first two parts, along with powerful illustrations, effectively draws an informative sketch of China in a limited number of pages."
Journal of Folklore Research
More than 50 authentic Han Chinese tales.