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Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China Paperback – May 7, 1996


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; 1 edition (May 7, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0698113888
  • ISBN-13: 978-0698113886
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Misty, jewel-like illustrations evoke the mythic past in this Chinese Cinderella story. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Born in New York City, AI-LING LOUIE graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and received her graduate degree from Wheelock College. After teaching school near Boston, she returned to the New York area, moving to New Jersey. The tale of Yeh-Shen had been told in her family for three generations when, to her surprise, a research trail led Ms. Louie to the Cinderella of her grandmother's story as recorded in an ancient Chinese manuscript, which is reproduced in this book. Further research confirmed that the story had been told in China since the days of the T'ang dynasty (618-907 A.D.), whereas the earliest known European version is an Italian tale dating from 1634.

ED YOUNG was born in Tientsin, China, grew up in Shanghai, and came to the United States when he was in his late teens. A graduate of the University of Illinois and the Los Angeles Art Center, he has illustrated many beautiful books for young people, among them The Emperor and the Kite, a Coldecott Honor Book (written by Jane Yolen); Chinese Mother Goose Rhymes (translated by Robert Wyndham); The Terrible Mung Gwama: A Chinese Folktale; Bo Rabbit Smart for True: Folktales from the Gullah (by Priscilla Jaquith); and High on a Hill: A Book of Chinese Riddles. The artwork for Yeh-Shen was more than two years in the making, and Mr. Young made two trips to China to do his careful research into the traditional costumes and customs of the people in the area in which this tale is set.

Customer Reviews

Scholars have collected more than 500 versions of the story.
slomamma
I recommend parents to purchase this book for children who love Cinderella books.
Sylverdollar
The illustrations are incredibly beautiful and visually appealing.
Candice Hatton

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 104 people found the following review helpful By slomamma on August 5, 2001
Format: Paperback
In almost every culture, parents tell children a story that resembles the European Cinderella. Scholars have collected more than 500 versions of the story. In the past couple of decades a lot of these multicultural variations on Cinderella have been turned into children's picture books. The familiar story gives kids a great introduction to people of the world. Several of these books are very good, but two are exceptional. One is John Steptoe's "Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters," an African version of the story. The other is this one.
"Yeh-Shen," a Chinese version of the tale almost a thousand years older than the earliest known European version, contains many familiar details - a poor over-worked girl, a wicked stepmother and stepsister, a magical helper, a king in search of a wife, and a lost shoe. But while Cinderella is simply handed gifts from her fairy godmother, Yeh-Shen earns her wishes through kindness to a magic fish. This one change makes a big difference in the ethical tone of the book. It also makes the reader feel much more sympathetic toward Yeh-Shen, who seems to deserve every bit of good fortune she gets.
The illustrations greatly add to the book's charm. Ed Young's style is striking and unique. There's a misty, ethereal quality to his art that makes everything look as if it were taking place in a dream - which is just perfect for the book.
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64 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Steven Lavigne on November 23, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the oldest known version of Cinderella. It dates back to 9BC China. Having taught a unit on the history of Cinderella to my class every year around Holiday time, I'm pleased to finally have a copy of the book -- the copy from the Minneapolis Public Library is missing -- because it teaches children that not every version is about pumpkin coaches and glass slippers. Beautifully illustrated by Ed Young, the theme of the fish/fairy godmother character plays throughout the book.
Enjoy this version, along with Shirley Chimo's Egyptian and Korean Cinderellas, The Turkey Girl, The Rough Face Girl, Sootface, and of course, the old classic versions.
This book is an excellent addition to your multicultural children's collection!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Amy Aldrich on January 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
Cinderella stories are practically a dime a dozen...they can be found in practically every culture known to man and are amoung the most frequently read to young children. So what makes Yeh-Shen worth reading...well, it's retold by Louie with it's origins in China and is probably based on the oldest known version of Cinderella in existence. Louie writes with few words, but manages to tell the story eloquently and in a way that is appealing to both children and adults. Additionally, Young's illustrations are exquisite and really evoke a feeling of ancient China. This story includes all of the classic elements that we Westerners are familiar with...the evil step mother, an unattractive step-sister, an emperor looking for a bride, the wayward slipper (though this one is golden, not glass)...but it also has its differences. In place of the fairy god-mother we are used to, there is a kindly old man who offers sage advice to Yeh-Shen (and he appears once about midway thought the story) and of course, there is the magical fish who makes Yeh-Shen's life bearable and makes her dreams come true in the end. I love that the author didn't sanitize the ending and that the reader is told the fate of the cruel and mean-spirited step-mother and sister. It was done in such a way that I don't think the young children this books is geared toward would be at all disturbed...plus it is in keeping with what is considered the traditional ending for most fairy tales (before they were sanitized for modern times)...the evil and unjust get what they deserve and I think that's the perfect ending! I give Yeh-Shen 5 stars, it's a lovely tale that is beautifully illustrated, it would make a lovely addition to any library.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ria Shanon Smith on April 6, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book arrived in good time and was in great condition. I will be using this for a Fairy Tale Unit in my classroom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A Marriett on October 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would recommend this! I got this for a friend adopting a child from China. The pictures are crisp and clear- definitely drawing a child's attention in. The print is just the right size and font (standard)- not too bunched up or spaced far apart either. It will make a great book for a parent to read to a child, and later in life, a child to read on their own.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By murchie on January 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
Bought this for my 6-yo niece, who reads very well. It's a great version of the Cinderella story, set in China. Instead of fairies and magic, the story is woven with events that could actually happen. (Makes me wonder if it inspired Cinderella, or vice versa.) Loved it, and so does my niece!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By kathryn stack on March 5, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We did a cinderella themed unit in my 2nd grade class. COmparing and contrasting the different versions. The kids loved it!
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By Candice Hatton on August 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yeh-Shen is a really great way of introducing children to the Chinese culture. They are able to relate to a version of Cinderella that they are more familiar with and see how it is applied to the Chinese culture. The illustrations are incredibly beautiful and visually appealing. A wonderful book to be used by teachers during a Cinderella unit.
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Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China
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