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Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes Hardcover – October 1, 2002

4.6 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes by Nina Simonds, Leslie Swartz and the Children's Museum, Boston, illus. by Meilo So, each of a quartet of holidays includes a brief background and introduces a bevy of crafts, recipes and legends. "The Story of the Kitchen God" kicks off the section on the Chinese New Year (and the reason behind serving the traditional tanggua, or candied melons); a recipe for Five-Treasure Moon Cakes stuffed with apricot preserves, pitted dates, sweet coconut and raisins helps youngsters celebrate the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Step-by-step illustrations aid in food preparation or crafts such as New Year Prints or Good Luck Characters in this elegantly designed volume.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-7-This book features five holidays: Chinese New Year and the Lantern Festival, Qing Ming, the Dragon Boat Festival, and the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. Each section begins with a one-page description of the history and customs of the festival and is followed by a four- to six-page story, from one to three recipes, and two or three crafts or games. The headings on each page appear in both English typeface and Chinese calligraphy; a guide to Chinese pronunciation is included. The ample white space surrounding the text is filled with small, whimsical watercolor illustrations. Each of the four sections is introduced by a dynamic, detailed watercolor painting on a double-page spread. They include a dragon parade complete with fireworks, kites flying above a family honoring ancestors at a grave, a dragon boat race, and preparations for a moon ceremony. A two-page resource section is divided into three parts: of interest to adults, of interest to young readers, and Internet sources. Most books for young readers about Chinese holidays stress Chinese New Year; only two others feature the full range of annual festivals. Carol Stepanchuk's Red Eggs & Dragon Boats (Pacific View, 1994) is a shorter book with a similar scope, but fewer recipes and crafts/activities. Judith Karen Gee's A Book of Chinese Festivals (Steam RR, 1989; o.p.) offers a brief description of each holiday but no recipes or other activities. Moonbeams is a useful, visually appealing addition to any holiday collection.
Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 1020 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (October 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152019839
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152019839
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.5 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #699,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
... I was looking for Chinese folk tales. What a great surprise! I am totally envious of kids today who get books like these -- how I wish they had something like this when I was little so that I would have been more familiar with my own cultural background. The book is organized by following the Chinese traditions/festivals/holidays through the course of a year. Stories, recipes, activities are paired with each holiday to give you a full sense of what happens on each one of these special occasions. I recognized bits and pieces of the folklore from the stories that my mom and grandparents told me when I was growing up...so it really feels authentic (not watered down) yet still accessible. The watercolors/illustrations are beautiful to look at too. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully executed book. The watercolors alone are worth the purchase, but it also includes very clever, not too difficult activities. How can you not be enthralled by thousands of years-old traditions and folklore??
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Format: Hardcover
what a delight for children and their parents and teachers!! in a world consumed by suspicion and fear of "the other" here is a wonderful and friendly guide to a culture teeming with fabulous cuisine and colorful celebrations. this is indeed one world, and introducing young children to each other in this gentle journey through kitchen and holidays has to point to a better world for all children. beautiful, colorful, easy to follow recipes, and wonderfully interesting, this book is a winner! enthusiastically recommended! norman d. levine, md
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Format: Hardcover
This book is absolutely fantastic in it's overall illustrative, watercolor depictions of bringing about the folktales and legends to life that have influenced the Chinese holidays I have come to know and celebrate. There are great craft activities on making dragon boats for the Dragon boat festival, fabulous recipes you can make to enjoy authentic Chinese cuisine, as well reading entertaining stories from which these legends originated from. I have bought this book mainly to gain some insight into the story behind the Spring Festival of the Kitchen God for my Oral Communications Speech, and it's provided me with a recipe along with illustrations which my friend has used for our Power Point presentation. I would recammend this book to anyone looking to explore the history of Chinese culture and cuisine because it has been valuable to me.
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Format: Hardcover
From Nina Simonds, comes an entertaining activity book that combines the enchantment of ancient Chinese tales with lessons of tradition and history. A blending of delightful storytelling and colorful illustration makes this a cultural delight.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very pretty book for those of us visual learners. Concrete and abstract examples of Chinese culture, good for children of different ages.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is filled with inspirational stories, fantastic recipies, and nifty craft ideas - perfect for celbrating all chinese holidays - great to share with your child
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a great intro to Chinese festivals and cultural mythology. Our five year old loves when we read it to her, though it's still a little over the head of my three year old. I think 5-8 is probably the right age for this book, though younger kids will still enjoy bits and parts of it.

In this book there are stories, crafts and recipes. For the story of Chang'e, this book features the version where she steals her husbands immortality potion because she is jealous. We also have books in which she drinks it to protect the potion from a greedy warrior. It's an old legend told different ways. But, my kids like the other version better because they hate thinking the Moon Goddess is a thief.

Overall, the legends are well written and easy to understand for the young elementary crowd. The watercolor illustrations are simple, but beautiful.

We'd recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about Chinese culture or looking for more ways to share family traditions with their kids. Also perfect for adoptive families looking for ways to learn about and share their child's birth culture with them.
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