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The Stonecutter: (Chinese) Hardcover – April 11, 1995

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The prolific author/artist brings her characteristically luxurious taste to this folktale, a Chinese equivalent of The Fisherman and His Wife. Here, it is a stonecutter who is granted his wishes to be turned into ever more powerful entities?until he learns, predictably, that "being a stonecutter is best after all." Burnished gold backgrounds made of Chinese silk fill each spread, canvases for Demi's delicate pen-and-ink drawings and paintings. A harmonious sense of balance informs these compositions, the use of space complementing an underlying fluidity of movement (e.g., an angel's flowing robes, the swirling dragons of the sun). Sure to satisfy Demi's many fans. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 3?A humble stonecutter, dissatisfied with his lot, longs for wealth and power. A helpful angel grants him a series of escalating wishes, but in the end he becomes a stonecutter again?a happy one this time. Although no source is given for the story, Demi's version resembles a tale attributed to the T'ung people, one of China's ethnic minorities, retold by Louise and Yuan Hsi Kuo in Chinese Folk Tales (Celestial Arts, 1976). Early collectors Marie Shedlock and Andrew Lang called it a Japanese story in The Crimson Fairy Book (Peter Smith, 1967). Gerald McDermott's picture-book version, The Stonecutter (Viking, 1975; o.p.), is set in Japan, while Pam Newton's The Stonecutter (Putnam, 1990; o.p.) is set in India. In her familiar, decorative style, Demi arranges tiny, tightly drawn figures and motifs borrowed from Chinese painting on large, double-page spreads. Pretty and formal, this new treatment is a marked contrast to McDermott's vibrant, abstract collages and to Newton's softer paintings, which were inspired by Persian miniatures. Demi's book is for larger collections, where contrasting versions of the same tale will be useful.?Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 and up
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (April 11, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517598647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517598641
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 9 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,931,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
As usual, Demi combines beautiful artwork with a traditional moral tale. The illustrations are a fantastic combination of bold color and gold backgrounds, contrasted with delicate details and pen lines. The story is of a stone cutter who wishes to be someone else, first a rich man, then a governer, eventually the sun, the wind, and so on. An angel grants each wish, but each time he changes his mind again. Finally he winds up back as a stonecutter, but much happier now that he realises his good fortune. A great book for those appreciate the unique.
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