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Crouching Tiger

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  102 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A Chinese-American boy gains a new understanding of his Chinese grandfather in this celebratory story of family, martial arts, and the Chinese New Year.

Vinson is very excited when his grandfather comes from China for a visit. When Grandpa practices tai chi in the garden, Vinson asks to learn, hoping it will be like kung fu, full of kicks and punches. But tai chi’s meditati
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published December 13th 2011 by Candlewick Press
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Vinson is fascinated when his grandfather arrives from China and practices tai chi in the backyard. When Vinson finds out it’s a martial art, he thinks it might be like kung fu but soon learns it is not. His grandfather begins to teach him the basic movements of tai chi but it is slow and requires a lot of patience. When Vinson is offered a place in the Chinese New Year parade, he’s not sure he wants to even participate. However, when he and his grandfather get to China Town, he discovers that h ...more
A Chinese-American boy embraces his Chinese heritage through learning the martial art of tai chi from his grandfather. He struggles at first and is impatient for more action, but begins to understand the importance in building a strong foundation through the principles of tai chi after watching his grandfather use his skills to help a young woman avoid an accident.

The story is strong in many aspects: the growing relationship of grandfather and grandson, the cultural awakening or the young Chines
Many of you are aware that I've been learning tai chi for the past ten months or so, and it's something I enjoy quite a lot, both for its meditative aspects and for its health benefits.

And just recently, it was the lunar new year. In fact, this past Saturday, I attended a Chinese New Year's celebration sponsored by the Taijiquan Enthusiasts Organization, which included a traditional Lion dance, a variety of martial arts demonstrations, and a ten-course Chinese banquet. It was a pretty terrific
With illustration done in ink and water, this gorgeously illustrated book tells the story of young Vinson who finds his Grandpa, visiting from China, practicing tai chi. Vinson loves kung fu and asks his Grandpa to teach him after Vinson demonstrates his vast knowledge of kung fu. Grandpa waits patiently until he can show Vinson how to stand meditate. Even though Vinson becomes slightly embarrassed at himself and also with his Grandpa during trips on the bus, to the parade, and at home, Vinson d ...more
As Ming Da gets used to his grandfather's presence he asks to be taught the Kung Fu he sees his grandfather practising in the backyard. Instead of learning the kicks and punches he expects, Ming Da learns to stand still. he is disappointed, but eventually learns that self-discipline is the necessary first step in learning martial arts.

I picked up this picture book because the title was interesting, and I have read other books by the author.

I finished this book, well, it's a picture book. It does
Lin Lin
When I read this book to my son, he jumped out of bed and acted out all the tai chi moves illustrated in the book. We had a great time reading it and reflecting upon our memories of grandfathers when they visited us in the states. Both of them passed away in the last few years, but like all beloved ones, they live in our hearts and they also lived with us as we practice and use what we have learned from them. This book encourages us to make sure our children growing up in the USA can still keep ...more
Little Kid Reaction: I asked a friend to share it with her class, and they loved it.

Big Kid Reaction: This is an excellent book that provides a very good introduction to the Chinese New Year’s celebration. The illustrations complement the story very well.

Pros: Readers will enjoy very nice illustrations and lots of good information that is worked into the flow of the narrative.

To read our full review, go to The Reading Tub.
Loved reading this book with my kids' karate class!
The Styling Librarian
Crouching Tiger by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Yan Nascimbene – I just loved reading Revolution is not a dinner party by this author a few years ago, powerful historical fiction book. This is a lovely present day picture book celebrating different family generations getting to know one and appreciate one another. Loved the introduction to tai chi, the concept of patience, and the relationship development between grandfather and grandson. Beautiful picture book!
I liked this--particularly the art, which includes examples of various tai chi positions--but wasn't particularly moved by the story (a Chinese-American grandson learns to respect and admire his Chinese grandfather when said grandfather introduces him to tai chi). Basically, we've seen this story plenty of times before. Still, it could be a good introduction to Chinese and Chinese-American culture for younger kids.
Great book. Good for teaching respect for elders.
Stacy Ford
A Chinese grandfather comes to America to visit his family, including his grandson Ming Da. The grandfather starts to teach Ming Da the ancient art of Tai Chi, but he wants to break boards and do Kung Fu. The grandfathers patience persists and the young boy comes around.

A good book to introduce during the Chinese New Year or as part of a cross cultural unit of study.
A young boy is embarrassed by his grandfather, who came to visit America from China for the Chinese New Year. The Chinese like illustrations by Yan Nascimbene are beautiful. I like how Ying Chang Compestine tells the story of a first generation American who is embarrassed by his grandfather's old/foreign ways. It is a common story of immigrants and maintaining a heritage.
Mary Ann
When his Chinese grandfather comes for a visit, Vinson is fascinated by the way his grandfather practices tai chi and longs to learn martial arts for himself--but he chafes against the quiet discipline his grandfather requires. Young readers cheer with the final New Year’s parade as grandson and grandfather celebrate together with love and respect.
A multileveled story I could see different children engaging from different vantages -- grandparent/grandchild relationships; tai chi/martial arts; Chinese American identity; Chinese New Year festivities; lessons in perseverance, persistence, dedication and commitment; etc. Lovely work.
Ming Da's grandfather comes to visit from China, and teaches him tai chi, then celebrates Chinese New Year with him. Ink and watercolor full-page illustrations, with drawings of tai chi moves. Might interest young boys who are Chinese, or those who are into martial arts. Ages 6-8.
A much-needed and worthy addition to the offerings of picture books on the Chinese-American (East Asian-American) experience. Should resonate with many families and capture the curisoities of many more.

The slightly longer story better suits this book for ages 7-9.
This book is about a Chinese-American boy who learns Tai Chi from his Grandfather. I think this would be a great way to introduce kids to Chinese-American culture and Tai Chi. Also includes an author's note at the end, which I always appreciate.
Lovely illustrations accompany a story of a boy getting to know his grandfather and learning to appreciate his heritage. Nice intro material to Chinese New Year. Tai chi poses are illustrated throughout.
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
A young boy learns about martial arts (tai chi) from his grandfather and much more about his heritage. Does refer to Chinese New Year and could be used during this holiday as well.
Interesting story of a child learning to understand his Chinese culture. The book provides info and a tai chi pose on each page. It also gives a glimpse into Chinese New Year traditions.
Ai-Ling Louie
A suburban Chinese American boy begins Tai Chi with his grandfather visiting from China. They participate in the Lion dance at the Chinatown Chinese New Year Parade.
A quiet look at a young boy's struggles with cultural identity and family expectation transcends the martial arts focus to speak to any child looking to fit in.

When Ming Da's Chinese grandpa comes to visit, he overcomes his initial embarrassment at his grandfather's traditions and begins to appreciate him.
This books gives wonderful insight into Chinese martial arts, new years celebration, and how to respects and be proud of your family / heritage.
I thought this book was great. I really liked the story, but I also enjoyed the ti-chi moves at the bottom of each page.
A young boy learns about tai chi from his Chinese grandfather and participates in the Chinese New Year celebration.
Reviewed at

Great story and amazing illustrations by Yan Nascimbene
Recommended for 7 and up. Themes: respect for elders; sometimes there is more behind the eyes that see.
Edward Sullivan
A Chinese-American boy learns martial arts from his grandfather.
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Ying Chang Compestine was born and raised in China. The spokesperson for Nestle Maggi Taste of Asia products and a national authority on Chinese cuisine and culture, she is the author of three cookbooks for adults, eight picture books for children, and one young adult novel. She lives in California with her family.
More about Ying Chang Compestine...
Revolution Is Not a Dinner Party The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts: A Collection of Deliciously Frightening Tales The Real Story of Stone Soup The Runaway Rice Cake

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