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The Five Chinese Brothers (Paperstar) Paperback – June 18, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I remember reading this book as a young child back in the 60s and being entranced by its clever story of five look-alike brothers with supernatural powers who save their own from an unjust punishment. I've thought of this book many times over my 45 years, remembering it with a fondness and awe unmatched by many other books--children's or no, that I have read. I have only recently revisited this fondly remembered favorite, all too mindful of the criticisms launched against it, paying close attention to the text and art.
The book, originally written in 1938, deserves to be judged not by our modern sensibilities, but for where the world was at the time it was written. Keeping that in mind, the book becomes less the poster child for racism than a respectful retelling of an old Chinese folktale. Careful study of the artwork will reveal that aside from the identical brothers (and their resemblance to each other IS an unassailable plot point from the original folk story)
there is as much effort placed into creating depictions of peripheral characters as there generally is in any children's book. The pen and watercolor wash drawings are simplified as one would expect for the age group that is the target audience, but each person rendered is an individual in facial expression, hair style and dress. Complaining of the sameness of all Chinese depicted becomes mystifying--as aside from similar dress and skin tone used the charge proves to be specious.Read more ›
And I remember being taunted by some of the kids in school for being one of a couple of Jews in my class. Not by all the kids--only by kids who heard things at home from their parents and other adults. They didn't get that from stories, they got it from the conversations around the dinner table.
I remember being thrilled by the adventures of the brothers. It can be a dangerous world, and I learned that no matter how dire the circumstances, through ingenuity, love, courage and community we can prevail.
I also remember as a three year old being terrified by a dump truck rumbling down the street. And as an 8 year old by a neighbor with a mental illness. And as a kindergartner falling asleep on the back of the bus and missing my stop.
The world is full of wonderful adventures, stories, treasures, dangers, successes, opportunities to learn and grow and develop. They don't have any inherent meaning or message, not until we add them in. Any of these can lead to hatred or to happiness, to suffering or to wisdom.Read more ›
The fact that the publishing company felt they had to edit this ancient story is atrocious. It proves their own fears and prejudices. I don't see any racial stereotypes here people. This story is over a hundred years old and finally brought to paper in the 60's I believe. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that's how people dressed back then. By "protecting" our children from any minute sign of what's not deemed politically correct, we've turned ourselves into a nation of cowards... afraid of our own shadows.
Shame on Paperstar for editing this wonderful story.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Infanticide and capital punishment - great bedtime story! However, it is a classic, but not sure I would buy it again. Illustrations are nicely done.Published 2 days ago by Pam Lucas
One of my favorite books from my childhood. Still a great read for my son.Published 29 days ago by John McMunn
Books when I was kid I read so I had to order it for my grand children to read alsoPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
BEST BOOK EVER. Timeless. I read it when I was a kid and now I'm sooo happy I found this book written in 1936! I read it to my grandkids and they loved it as well!Published 1 month ago by R. Stern