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Sivu's Six Wishes Hardcover – May 24, 2010
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3–A stunningly illustrated retelling of a Taoist tale from ancient China. Sivu is a talented stonecutter. People are amazed at what he can make from simple rocks. But he doesn't make much money from his craft and soon becomes bitter. While carving an elegant statue for a rich man, he wishes that he could be that rich man and suddenly, he becomes him. However, this does not satisfy him; his wishes for more power escalate, until everyone hates him. When his final wish leaves him as immovable as the earth, he learns a valuable lesson about humility. Daly's folk-style illustrations convey a magical land of desert, ocean, and exotic animals. The exaggerated human figures are stylized and captivating. Simple landscapes underscore a towering Sivu as he becomes the elements of sun, rain, wind, and eventually rock. The tale is a didactic one–be careful what you wish for–and Sivu learns his lesson. An excellent addition to a unit on Eastern philosophy, literature, or religion.–C. J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
With a contemporary setting and a multiracial cast typical of Daly’s native Cape Town, the author-illustrator retells a beautiful ancient Taoist tale of a man who envies those with power until he discovers the true power he finds in making art. Sivu is a stonecutter who can coax a vibrant animal or person out of lifeless rock, but he is bitter and disappointed that he makes so little money. Magically, his wishes to be wealthy and important are granted, but when he becomes both a businessman and a mayor, he turns ugly and mean, and everyone hates him. Then he gets his wishes to be the sun, the rain, and the wind, and he can move everything, except a huge rock, bigger and more powerful than anything else on earth. Daly closes with Sivu getting his comeuppance. The bright, unframed, folk art–style acrylic paintings contrast Sivu as a powermonger with the forces of the universe. Young people will enjoy the drama caused by Sivu’s jealousy as well as the surprising end and its celebration of art. Grades 1-3. --Hazel Rochman
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This simple tale presents an interesting opportunity to talk economics with children, especially the notion that people cannot have everything they want and there are tradeoffs associated with choices. The subtle acrylic illustrations add an African dimension to this modern interpretation of an old Taoist folk story.