- Age Range: 3 - 7 years
- Grade Level: Preschool and up
- Hardcover: 40 pages
- Publisher: Hyperion Book CH; First Edition edition (October 20, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1423109651
- ISBN-13: 978-1423109655
- Product Dimensions: 11 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,126,653 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fu Finds The Way Hardcover – October 20, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1–4—Some time in the past, in a country resembling China, Fu finds his imaginary adventures more compelling than planting rice in straight rows. When his father tells him to start over, the boy hurls a plant down the hillside where it lands on Chang, a passing soldier of some importance, who challenges the child to a duel. The frightened boy goes to the Master to learn to fight but becomes impatient when his mentor insists on beginning with tea. Throughout the night, the boy makes it over and over, learning to be patient. An author's note mentions the ancient Chinese tea ceremony called Gong Fu, a phrase indicating "any skill developed through great practice." The next morning the child trudges to the duel armed only with the proper tools for tea-making. Chang declines to fight, recognizing that the boy has the Way, an answer reflecting the Daoist philosophy embedded in the imaginative, but somewhat didactic, tale. The illustrations are varied, dramatic, and magical, although the palette is dark with a heavy use of browns and dull yellows. Rocco walks a fine line in his character depictions, particularly of the old man, a stereotypical caricature with thick glasses, a thin beard, and hands hidden in long sleeves. Though some of this story's elements will appeal to the younger children in the target audience, this well-written tale will be best received by older readers, who can appreciate its subtext.—Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA END
When young Fu inadvertently hits a warrior with a clump of mud, the warrior challenges him to a duel. Terrified, Fu grabs his father’s sword and seeks the advice of “the Master,” who has trained “all the great warriors.” Instead of sword fighting and martial arts, however, the Master instructs Fu in pouring tea, stressing the importance of purpose, patience, and flow. The duel is averted when the warrior is impressed by Fu’s exquisite tea ceremony. Masterful illustrations reveal lush landscapes, an august Master, and dreamy settings well suited for a solemn tea ceremony. Fu’s loyal pet duck, an expressive sidekick, adds a light touch to the formality and surreal images. Children anticipating Jackie Chan–like action may be disappointed, but older kids and adults will enjoy the artful irony and New Age message delivered in this elegant picture book. Grades 3-5. --Linda Perkins
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A young boy, Fu, accidentally angers a mighty warrior, who challenges him to a duel. In a panic, Fu goes to the village master and begs the master to teach him how to fight before the duel the next day. The village master tells him to pour tea and instructs Fu in the art of the tea ceremony. In pouring tea all night, Fu learns purpose, flow and patience. The next day, still not knowing how to fight, he asks the warrior if he can serve him tea before the duel. After "nine perfect rounds of tea", the warrior says he will not fight Fu, because Fu has "the Way". "The Way" is not explained.
The illustrations truly are beautiful. There's a wonderful element of magical realism -- sometimes the master's head is as big as Fu, and sometimes the master is "the size of a teacup." Fu suddenly finds himself in a bamboo forest, and standing in the wet leaves at the bottom of the teapot. (It may sound odd, but it works!) The text sometimes captures the mind of a young boy very nicely ("Fu could think of at least thirty-seven things that were more fun than planting rice"... with the illustrations showing the dragon that he's fighting off with a rice plant :) ). But overall, it felt a bit preachy, a bit heavy-handed, a bit esoteric/abstract, and bit too Karate Kid-ish. I kept thinking "wax on, wax off" as I read it!
So by all means pick up this book, but maybe talk to your child about the pictures and what might be going on rather than sticking slavishly to the text provided.
(Note: I received a free advance reading copy of this book from the publisher at an American Library Association Annual Conference. I was not required to write a positive review. Thank you, Disney Hyperion!)