Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts
A Literary Cookbook
tales retold by Paul Yee; illustrations by Shaoli Wang; recipes by Judi Chan; intro by Jane Yolen
Published 2015 • 8 ¼” x 10 ¼” • 160 pages • full-color photos
ISBN 9781566569934 • hardback • $25.00 •
“Paul Yee draws on his deep knowledge of Chinese culture and history to create and retell these tales. Being a storyteller, he has heard them, read them, spoken them, and here shares them once more—they seem to be in his bones. They are full of witches, monkey gods, and magic makers. The tales speak of monks, peasants, greedy leaders and honest beggars. They unearth the full variety of human nature and experience.”
—from the foreword by Jane Yolen, award-winning author and celebrated folklorist
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A FUN BOOK FOR PARENTS AND CHILDREN TO ENJOY AND TREASURE
The fairy tales and folklore of China—like stories told throughout the ages everywhere—bring the fantastic world of ghosts and demons into our everyday lives. So it is not surprising that food makes an appearance here—each story is followed by a simple recipe.
Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts is a creative book which folds fairy tales into a cookbook of kid-friendly recipes. Most of the thirteen fairy tales included in the book have been adapted and retold from original sources by master storyteller, Paul Yee—a few are original to this text, but remain true to the spirit of the collection. They are accompanied by an introduction by Jane Yolen, one our most celebrated folklorists. The splendid illustrations by Shaoli Wang bring the collection to life.
Paul Yee is one of North America’s finest writers for young people. His first book for Crocodile Books was The Jade Necklace (illustrated by Grace Lin), followed by Bamboo, (illustrated by Shaoli Wang). Dead Man’s Gold and Other Stories was a Kiriyama Prize Notable Book. Ghost Train won Canada’s Governor General’s Award. Paul Yee lives in Toronto.
Born and raised in Qing Dao, China, Shaoli Wang now lives in British Columbia where she teaches art to children. Her first book for children, Bamboo, also written by Paul Yee, was short-listed for the BC Book Prize.
Crocodile Books, USA
“In this installment of the 'Fairy Tale Feasts' series, Yee has taken over for Jane Yolen, who penned the last two volumes. His 13 fairy tales from China range from cautionary tales about greed to stories of the eight immortals to narratives that recall traditionally Western tales, such as ‘New World Cinderella,’ in which the poor, beleaguered step-daughter claims a reward for her magical shoe and goes off alone to make her own fortune. Yee does a great job of incorporating the traditional stories and recipes with brief paragraphs that provide helpful historical context. A tale about the miraculous origin of noodles, for example, is paired with a simple recipe for noodles in peanut sauce, as well as some facts about the history of the culinary staple in China. The recipes, almost all of which will require adult supervision, are fairly straightforward and don’t require too many components, and most ingredients can be found in larger supermarkets. An entertaining, multifaceted, and—most importantly—delicious way to explore Chinese culture at home or in a classroom.”
“This collection of original stories and adapted Chinese folklore (a companion to Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple’s 'Fairy Tale Feasts' and 'Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts') features noblemen, peasants, animals, gods, and ghosts in tales that frequently address themes of greed, poverty, hunger, and atonement. Each tale, in some fashion, symbolically incorporates food and concludes with a recipe (congee, green onion pancakes, and won-ton soup are among the offerings). Wang’s cartoons, a mix of full-page illustrations and spot art, evoke Chinese folk art with bright colors, ornamental prints, and naïve figures. In addition to the recipes and details about cuisine, Yee includes proverbs, information about the origins of the stories, and brief insights into Chinese history and culture, making this a collection to feed the mind and the body. Ages 5–11.”
“This is a fine collection of quintessential Chinese fairy tales and recipes. The stories are told with tangy and intriguing details that invite American readers to consider the Chinese perspective. The symbiosis between the recipes and the stories is impressive; paired with each dish is a traditional tale. Yee and Wang share the Chinese characters that go with proverbs that pair traditionally with dishes. The stories are short, requiring only 15 or 20 minutes to read aloud. The renditions of the tales are impressive and will be appreciated by a wide age range; they are easy to read but not oversimplified. While this work has the potential for broad appeal, it does not have an obvious niche in most K—12 collections; librarians would be wise to promote and display this unique offering in order to get it into the right hands. VERDICT Educators may find this valuable for geography units or lesson plans involving Chinese culture. Gr 4 Up.”
—School Library Journal
“A feast for young imaginations… Chinese folklore is steeped in mystical adventures culminating in universal lessons of empathy, generosity and forgiveness. 'Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook' from Interlink Publishing combines a brief collection of these stories with a Chinese food recipe of equal cultural relevance. The result is a charming and fast-paced book that takes young readers on a cultural journey of delicious proportions.”
“Each tale is served alongside a tempting recipe and lovingly flavored with gorgeous folkloric illustrations (a visual feast in itself), making this literary banquet something to savor with family and friends across generations time and again. Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook…is a delightful trifecta of tales by master storyteller and award-winning Canadian author Paul Yee, mouthwatering recipes by Judy Chan, and charming illustrations by Shaoli Wang.”
—Jama’s Alphabet Soup
“'Chinese Fairy Tale Feasts: A Literary Cookbook' is a delightfully quirky hybrid of fables and recipes that will satisfy those hungry for both knowledge and culinary inspiration…The fun, colorful illustrations by Yee’s frequent collaborator Shaoli Wang dazzle with their traditional folk-art perspective…More than just a storybook, more than just a cookbook, this latest installment in a series…promises to bring people together to share food and stories, embodying the spirit of generosity of the tales within.”
—Quill & Quire
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