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The Runaway Rice Cake Hardcover – January 1, 2001
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Ying Chang Compestine's tale of compassion and generosity teaches a valuable, perennially fresh message. Tungwai Chau's acrylic paintings of the family celebrating their most important holiday are rich with details of traditional Chinese life. A note about the Chinese New Year includes recipes for nián-gäo, the good-luck cake that is said to bring safety and fortune to the entire family all year long. (Ages 5 to 8) --Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-A tale of tenderness and sharing. It is Chinese New Year's Eve, and the Chang family is preparing to celebrate the holiday. Although they have very little food, they have enough rice flour to make one New Year's rice cake. However, when the ni n-gao is cooked, it comes to life, pops out of the pan, and leads the Changs on a merry chase through the village. The errant cake is finally caught after it collides with an old woman and knocks her to the ground. When the family discovers that she hasn't eaten for several days, the youngest son suggests that they share the cake with her. Their generosity is later rewarded, as several villagers bearing gifts of food arrive at the Chang house. Magically, more and more food appears on the table, until there is enough for everyone to eat. Figurative drawings, while reminiscent of the art in various retellings of "The Gingerbread Boy," have a softer and more whimsical nature. Each page combines a vibrancy of color with more muted background tones. A brief pronunciation guide, along with information about the New Year and two recipes, extends the story. A welcome addition to stories such as Karen Chinn's Sam and the Lucky Money (Lee & Low, 1995) and Leo Politi's classic Moy Moy (Scribner, 1960; o.p.), which highlight other aspects of this holiday.-Tina Hudak, St. Bernard's School, Riverdale, MD
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
In the tradition of other great storytellers, Ying Chang Compestine begins her tale, Runaway Rice Cake, with the introducer, "It all happened one Chinese New Year's Eve." Compestine then serves up more than just rice cakes; she gives young readers whimsy, adventure, magic, family fun, language, rhyme, a geography lesson, and an easy-to-handle moral to cap it off. All in the space of 30 beautifully illustrated pages. A father, mother, and three sons in old China are set to enjoy the Chinese New Year. The mother cooks them a special seasonal treat, a rice cake, with the remaining flour in the cupboard. When she pronounces it done, they stand ready to share it. But wait - the nian-gao (rice cake in Chinese) suddenly comes to life and bolts for the door. The boys, with mother and father in tow, chase it through farmyards, markets, a celebration, and the village center. The chase finally ends when the runaway rice cake bumps into a "grandmother," an old woman in the town. She has not eaten for days and Da, the youngest, offers to share the prize cake with her. In her hunger she accidentally devours the whole thing and embarrasses herself in the process. When the family arrives home, villagers have heard of their plight and are waiting with baked buns, dumplings, and oranges, and magically empty bowls are transformed into full ones of noodles, fish, vegetables, and rice. What makes this such a great story is that it arrives in layers: first the tale, then the magic and whimsy, then the language and geography, then the lesson. Young readers are innately curious about children and customs in other lands, but they want the information on kid level. Compestine's book delivers that along with a nice helping of fun.Read more ›
lifted the cover off the rice cake ran away from the fisherman,
a neighboor and the dragon. But they still coudn't get the rice cake. Xavier S.
See my other reviews of Chinese New Year themed kids' books on my blog - www(dot)myoverthinking(dot)com - look for the post dated January 25, 2012
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nice book for reading to kids about the tradition of Chinese New Year.Published 2 months ago by Joyce Elliott
I do not understand how readers can enjoy this book at all. I find it utterly boring, without any wit nor creativity that will capture my kids' (aged 4 & 8) attention or interest. Read morePublished 18 months ago by SL
The Runaway Rice Cake is very similar to the runaway gingerbread man. I just love this version though because it's a little different and funnier with a good moral to it.Published on May 13, 2012 by Amanda
I bought this for an ongoing compare and contrast lesson for my first graders. We've been reading various versions of the story of the Gingerbread Boy and then discussing how they... Read morePublished on January 21, 2010 by Wendy
we loaned this book from library, and it fascinated my 3 yr old. It's a typical Asian morality story, but with vivid characters and country theme illustrations. Read morePublished on February 3, 2008 by Angie Fox
This is a variant of the gingerbread man. It also has magic and a moral. My older daughter, 6 enjoyed this and took it to school.Published on February 23, 2006 by Susan Morris-Jackson
First, let me say that we own many children's books that represent Chinese culture, particularly since my husband is Chinese. Read morePublished on August 11, 2005 by professor s