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Grandfather Tang's Story (Dragonfly Books) Paperback – August 12, 1997

4.8 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Here's a folktale with a twist: Tompert uses tangrams, a traditional "visual aid" employed by Chinese storytellers, to spin a tale about two shape-changing fox fairies. Seven "tans" (standard-sized pieces of a square) are arranged and rearranged to represent various characters in the story. The fox fairies vie to outdo each other--the first one becomes a rabbit, the other a dog who chases him, and so on--but when the two chase each other right into danger, they finally have to set their competition aside and pull together. Parker's graceful, impressionistic illustrations have a gentle Oriental flavor, and the constantly changing tangram configurations add a novel touch. A traceable tangram is provided at the end for do-it-yourselfers. Ages 3-7.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4-- Two competitive fox fairies go through rapid physical transformations until a hunter's arrow reminds them of their true friendship. This original tangram tale is framed by the loving relationship between a grandfather and granddaughter as they share the story under the shade of an old tree, and culminates in a tangram of an old man and a girl likewise resting. Tangrams, ancient Chinese puzzles in which a square is cut into seven traditional pieces (each called a tan), are arranged into patterns used to help tell the story. Parker's watercolor washes complement the text, adding energy and tension, as well as evoking oriental brushwork technique. However, the text is strong enough to stand on its own, and will be valued by storytellers and listeners alike. --Carolyn Noah, Worcester Public Library, MA
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 0660 (What's this?)
  • Series: Dragonfly Books
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dragonfly Books; Reprint edition (August 12, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517885581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517885581
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I use this book annually to introduce tangrams into my geometryunit. The information from the back of the book adds a multiculturaland historical dimension to the lesson while the relationship between grandfather and granddaughter offers an intergenerational link. Reading the book in an interactive mode, I use my own renditions of Grandfather Tang's animals mounted on poster boards and flipped over to be uncovered as the story progresses. The kids are completely engaged trying to guess what the next fairy transformation will be before it's revealed. By the end of the book, they are excited to create their own tangram pictures to form into a class book. The soft watercolor illustrations are a balanced contrast to the energy and enthusiasm Grandfather Tang's Story generates with my class.
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Format: Hardcover
This is is an excellent book!I am a teacher and use this book with my 3rd and 4th grade students to teach tangrams and fractions! Children will enjoy the cute story and beautiful pictures!
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Format: Paperback
This book is NOT for babies and pre-schoolers! This creative story shows children how to use a puzzle set of math manipulatives called Tangrams to create pictures. It could be used in ANY grade to improve children's comprehension of spatial relations. A pattern for the tangrams is included in the back of the book to make teaching easier. Any child would love to play with these picture puzzles!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Grandfather Tang’s Story: A Tale Told in Tangrams by Ann Tompert and illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker is a unique book which uses tangrams–the traditional Chinese art form– to expand the lovely pastel illustrations. The plot line features a sweet moment between granddaughter and her grandfather. The little girl requests her grandfather to tell a story so that they can both bring it to life with their tangrams. Readers can easily duplicate the tangram shapes and then mimic each illustration themselves which offers a unique interactive element to the story. Or, they can simply enjoy the illustrations without taking on the challenge–and fun–of manipulating the tangram pieces.

This story offers a good example of families connecting across generations, creating fun from their imaginations — without depending on elaborate tech. It highlights a subtle message of loyalty, friendship and learning from mistakes.

AQ* Lens This tale can easily digress into a conversation about the many ways we try to change ourselves, something many adoptees struggle with as they try to figure out how to fit in. Readers can discuss how each transformation brought risks and rewards; most importantly the foxes recognize they must be true to themselves. This is such an important lesson for all of us but especially for many adoptees who are tempted to reshape themselves to fit their idea of what they believe their parents “wish” them to be.

The story also shows how the little girl “read” the cues her grandfather gave so she recognized when he needed to end their game and rest. This plot points can leading to talking about reading social cues which is an important skill that all kids need. --Gayle H. Swift, "ABC Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book"
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great story for teaching tangrams to students in class. The story is fun for kids to listen to and when doing a 2nd read, it is fun to stop and have students try to make the shapes. There is a page to copy the shapes on tag board if you don't have the hard plastic ones. Also found a youtube of kids making the shapes too, so when you have kids that aren't as spacially aware, you can encourage them by showing other students at work and to perservere.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Santa brought my 5 year olds this book and a tangram set for each of them. We've had lots of fun reading the story and making the animals. My kids also like to now make their own designs and make everyone else guess what they have made. Tangrams are a wonderful activity to strengthen spatial skills.
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Format: Paperback
As a teacher I have used this book when we study ancient China. It is also great to use in math and have the children make tangrams. It is always a surprise with what child makes a complete square with them first. The story keeps their attention and is a quick read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wanted this book because our church is writing a lesson plan for our Religious Education kids to use Tangrams to write a story to share with our Honduras partner schools. The book came at the right time in perfect condition.
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