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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Seven Chinese Brothers (Blue Ribbon Book) Paperback – 1990

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In colorful language well suited to a story of ingenuity and valor, Mahy presents the Chinese folktale about brothers with amazing powers. Although the broad outline is the same as The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop, illustrated by Kurt Wiese (first published in 1938), Mahy's stirring retelling is very different from and just as good as the earlier effort. She has elaborated on the story, spicing it with more action and adding ironic humor. Replete with striking character portraits, the Tsengs' dramatic watercolors evoke the Orient and provide authentic, historical details. As in all fine picture books, text and illustrations blend, creating an inviting world for young readers and listeners and heightening the story's dramatic impact. Children will be caught up in the many narrow escapes and will benefit from the subtle lesson on the importance of working together. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4-- The seven brothers walk, talk, and look alike, but each has his own special power. When the third brother runs afoul of the emperor and is sentenced to be beheaded, the fourth brother, who has bones of iron, takes his place. The emperor then tries drowning and burning but each time a different brother foils his scheme. Mahy retells this traditional Chinese tale in graceful, witty prose. She uses classic storytelling elements to their best advantage and, without any attempt to imitate Chinese syntax, her choice of words gives a feeling of time and place. Both jacket notes and an editor's foreword give background information about the tale. Beginning with the cover, which shows the smiling brothers looming over a cowering emperor, the Tsengs' rich watercolors complement and enhance the story. With great skill, they interweave elements of ancient Chinese painting with lively pictorial storytelling. The emperor, encased in voluminous ceremonial robes, is an embodiment of corrupt yet insecure power, and the beautiful faces of the seven brothers, although alike, glow with life. Many readers will be familiar with the classic Claire Bishop/Kurt Wiese version of the The Five Chinese Brothers (Coward-McCann, 1938). The style of both text and illustrations is so different from the Mahy/Tseng book that comparisions are inappropriate. An exceptional new telling of the story. --Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 06 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Series: Blue Ribbon Book
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Inc; 1st edition (1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590420577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590420570
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 10 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 31, 2000
Format: Paperback
Researchers constantly find that reading to children is valuable in a variety of ways, not least of which are instilling a love of reading and improved reading skills. With better parent-child bonding from reading, your child will also be more emotionally secure and able to relate better to others. Intellectual performance will expand as well. Spending time together watching television fails as a substitute.
To help other parents apply this advice, as a parent of four I consulted an expert, our youngest child, and asked her to share with me her favorite books that were read to her as a young child. The Seven Chinese Brothers was one of her picks.
The Seven Chinese Brothers is for children who are past the time when they are easily frightened because they take everthing very literally, because the brothers face death at the hands of the Chinese emperor in this story.
The seven brothers are precursors to the modern comic book super heroes that are so popular. Each has an unusual skill. The first has remarkable hearing. The second can see over vast distances. The third has unusual strength. The fourth has bones of iron. The fifth has legs that can grow as long and thick as tree trunks. The sixth brother can never be too hot. The seventh brother can cry such large tears that they can drown an entire village. Much effort goes into keeping him happy. The key to the story is that they look alike.
The brothers discern that the emperor is mistreating his workers at the Great Wall of China. The strong brother goes to help out, and the emperor becomes afraid. Through great imagination in employing their remarkable talents, teamwork, and an indomitable spirit, the brothers survive the wrath of the emperor.
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Format: Paperback
I, like many other reviewers, grew up on The Five Chinese Brothers. I always loved that book - not for its pictures but for its message. It is about family and I was kind of surprised that there were no parent in the new version. After reading Seven Chinese Brothers, I still like the original the best. I agree with another reviewer that we try to shield our children from everything instead of discussing things with them. Stories are not just meant to be read but discussed. It is true that the pictures in the current version are more colorful and more appealing to the flash and dazzle to which many of our children have become so accustomed. But try having the children focus on the message and not the beauty or lack thereof of the messenger.
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By A Customer on October 22, 1998
Format: Paperback
I'd say for 6 years and up. We all love this one and never tire of it. It's alot of fun and shows a supportive set of siblings. Illustrations are especially good.
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Format: Paperback
The introduction to this book describes the story as a classic tall tale and gives some historical background information on the story. There's no mama here, as in THE FIVE CHINESE BROTHERS, which is not a prequel, but is basically the same story. This one (7 brothers) is SO much better than the other! There's more action here, and the beautiful, colorful illustrations are wonderful and have movement and detail. I think the two books cost the same. I'd get this one!
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Format: Paperback
Another version of basically the same tale, The Seven Chinese Brothers tells the story of seven brothers each with a different special power (amazing hearing, amazing vision, strength, iron bones, legs that could grow, never getting hot, and crying tears to drown a village...not exactly a great super power there). Feeling threatened by the strength of one man, the Emperor decides to execute the third brother. Together, the brothers outwit the Emperor and are all saved as the two armies are swept away along with the Emperor at the hands (...or tears) of the baby brother. An amusing little tale about working together as a team but probably too much for a sensitive listener--threats of decapitation, drowning, being burned alive, and shot full of arrows....hmmm....not so good for bedtime reading.

If you want to read my reviews of 35 books having to do with China for kids, go to my 7/2/2012 post on myoverthinking(dot)com
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Format: School & Library Binding Verified Purchase
I won't spend my time discussing the storyline, since most readers will be familiar with it.
This book is better than the earlier version of "Seven Chinese Brothers" I grew up with, yet it lack that book's superior pacing and melodic flow.
But still, this book is the better one in that it is conscious of the stereotypes permeating throughout the earlier version and thus eliminates them.
The ending could have been stronger since it seems to end hanging in mid-air.
The illustrations are superior to the previous version with an Asian-influenced use of watercolor.
The main problem is that, overall, the book doesn't disappoint, yet nor does it impress. A solid, somewhat lackluster book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a truly wonderful retelling of the old story about the Identical Chinese brothers who anger the Emperor. Each has a special gift that prevents disaster from happening. I have purchased this as a gift, I own a copy - and I love this book!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first read this book to my students while teaching a unit on China and Chinese New Year. The second graders liked it so much that I decided to purchase it for my grandson's seventh birthday. He and his five year old sister both enjoyed me reading it to them.
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