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Beyond the Great Mountains: A Visual Poem about China
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Beyond the Great Mountains: A Visual Poem about China

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  96 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Ed Young's spare prose, as lovely as a rice-paper painting, describes in measured detail the beautiful and mystical land that the author so clearly loves. The unique format and gorgeous paper-collage illustrations, highlighted with Chinese characters, combine to convey the many facets of China to form a poetic picture of the lands grace, depth, and majesty.
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published August 25th 2005 by Chronicle Books
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Oct 07, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
Beyond the great mountains/ Ed Young/
Genre: fiction, folktale
Format: picture book
Plot Summary: Lyrical text and illustrations featuring Chinese characters and paper collage introduce the beauty and richness of China.
Considerations: no red flags
Review Citation: School Library Journal; October 2005, Vol. 51 Issue 10, p196-196, 1p
Selection Source: Ed Young bibliography
Recommended age: 7-10
NS - Cami Houston
Appropriate 3-5th grade-This flip book has pictures that take you right to China. Each one of them, misty, water colored, haunting. They speak to you about what natural resources have come to the world through the birthplace of China, or can be found there now such as jade, hemp, and bamboo. Take a trip to the mountains of China in this fabulous book.
Gorgeous book! great for sharing Chinese cultural aspects, especially Chinese writing. Is a "visual poem" with lovely collage illustrations and great prose. Is a unique format, and would be fun to use to talk about what aspects make a book. Would also be good to use when talking about letters and the origin of Chinese letters.

Chinese American Libraries Association (CALA) Best Illustrated Book Award
Children's Book Sense Pick
IRA Teachers' Choices 2006
PBS Teacher Source, Recommended Books in Soc
Emily Mateos
Nov 16, 2012 Emily Mateos rated it really liked it
Grade/interest level: Upper elementary (4th-5th grade)
Reading level: None available
Genre: Poetry, multicultural (Chinese symbols), Picture book, Information book

Main Characters: No real main characters
Setting: Middle empire China
POV: 3rd person narrating the poem

This is a very short poem with great imagery in its pictures and use of Chinese symbols. The poem describes the various features of China including its rice fields, bamboo, hemp, and mountains with an every present mist hiding the valle
Dec 10, 2011 Katherine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elementary
A visual poem about China in which Ed Young describes China in such a way as to make you love it. Each page is slightly longer in length, giving the appearance of stairsteps or deeper knowledge. The illustrations look like rice paper collages with watercolors of Chinese script. According to the last few pages, the script used are actually ancient Chinese characters. But there is also a guide to the modern characters and a little history of how the characters have changed. The texture is so ...more
Sep 08, 2016 Michelle rated it really liked it
Absolutely beautiful!!
Shaeley Santiago
Incorporating old Chinese characters within a poem, this book tells a Chinese creation-type story. The pages are layered so that when you first open the book (up and down orientation), you see the entire poem on the stair-step strips at the bottom of the page. Then illustrations reveal the connection between the words of the poem and the Chinese characters represented.

I wish I had come across this book before our World Studies class read about China being the Middle Kingdom because that's exact
Linh Tong
Nov 30, 2012 Linh Tong rated it really liked it
Shelves: culture, poetry, china
This is a poem that describes China. It talks about the beautiful setting including the mountains and the rivers. One of the good phrases in the book is “In winter’s ice, summer’s fire, more plants flourished." The language is very descriptive and it elicits emotions from the reader. The reader can picture the background while reading the poem. The drawings include a variety of colors which makes the reader more interested in the book. I would use this book when we talk about poetry or China.
Mar 11, 2012 Paul rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-lit
Ed Young with rice paper yields magic, in this case as he crafts each illustration around an ancient Chinese character or two, accompanied by a poem that stretches the length of the book (on pages of increasingly larger size. You have to see and take this one in to appreciate it. The book design adds a nice touch, resulting in another expression of Young's affection for the country of his birth.
Jun 25, 2013 Samantha rated it really liked it
A visual poem honoring the author's homeland of China. The book reads vertically with each page being a little larger than the one before it. The lyrical text appears at the bottom of each page alongside Chinese characters. Paper cut collage illustrations support the essence of the words.

An author's note, and a list of Chinese characters then and now is also included.

In one word: fascinating.
Dec 20, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it
In the Author's note, Young states that he is trying to create the poetic notion of "visual verse." He certainly achieves this through his simplistic paper collages; he is representing a line of poetry in one picture. The book includes chinese symbols which can represent a whole idea in one character. I also like that you get the entire poem when you open the book, but you must flip the pages to see each image grow.
Jul 14, 2011 Jenny rated it it was amazing
I loved this poem about the Great Mountains of china. I love the beautiful collage illustrations and I love the format where each page is a little longer than the last, so that you can actually read the whole poem as you open the front cover...but you have to flip page by page to see the amazing artwork. What a lovely book!
Dec 15, 2013 Relyn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teachers
Recommended to Relyn by: Ed Young
Shelves: lawsonland
As far as content, this was not my favorite book. When judged on book layout, I love this book. It is designed as a stair-step poetry book, and it is tactile and fabulous.

Classroom Connections
- lessons on book layout for our writer's workshop
- as a template for a book poem in our poetry unit
- part of a multi-cultural unit on China
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Disappointing, though I liked the different orientation of the text. The poem didn't do much for me, and with the exception of one picture, of birds perched on branches with the sun behind them, the pictures didn't do much either. I ususally like Ed Young's books, but this one wasn't the greatest.
Feb 12, 2013 Tessa rated it really liked it
The illustrations are lovely and the text is ok - you wont learn much about China but its an interesting read from a poetic standpoint. The book's format is unique, too, which is fun. It would be a good idea to read the author's note before you read the book.
Jun 06, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is a beautiful and unique book. After reading the author's note, it's great to read it again.
I'd be interested in hearing comments from people who have read this to their young children/grandchildren.
What a gorgeous book! I love how Ed Young's illustrations show the meaning of the old Chinese character. A beautiful poem (even if it is a bit on the abstract side), lovely illustrations on rice paper, and I love the use of Chinese characters (both old and new).
Christopher Obert
Feb 12, 2009 Christopher Obert rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2009
A beautiful piece of art! The book speaks to both the mind and the eye. It words speak to you as the images express the texture. An attractive combination of color and printed word, worthy of reading and looking at!
Tiffany Chan
Really interesting way of illustrating the way that Chinese characters are so pictorial. Very clever, and beautiful textures, colors, and compositions as always.
Joan Marie
Jan 25, 2016 Joan Marie rated it really liked it
I very clever way of presenting both the traditional Chinese characters, paper-collage illustrations, and sparse prose speak of the beauty of China. For older school-age kids.
Apr 20, 2012 Jennifer rated it liked it
The simplistic beauty of this book shows the character of China. I also love that the book opens vertically rather than horizontally.
Jun 02, 2012 Katy rated it it was amazing
A visual poem indeed! Prolific Ed Young writes about the China he loves, illustrating each line with Chinese characters and collages. Ed Young is such a dynamic writer and illustrator.
Oct 24, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching
There are really no words but the text itself to describe this poetry. A wonderful way to introduce children to poetic innovation and convention all at once. Took me outside myself.
Jun 16, 2014 Vwilliams-johnso rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Visuals great
Robust vocabulary
Depicts aspects of China such land forms and natural resources
Unique format

Kate rated it really liked it
Feb 02, 2016
Patricia rated it it was amazing
Feb 28, 2009
Sarah rated it it was amazing
Jul 20, 2012
Beverly rated it liked it
Mar 09, 2012
Katrina rated it it was amazing
Sep 13, 2012
Maria Testa
Maria Testa rated it liked it
Dec 18, 2015
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Ed Young is the illustrator of more than eighty books for children, seventeen of which he has also written. Among his books is the Caldecott Medal winner Lon Po Po, which he both wrote and illustrated. He says that his work is inspired by the philosophy of Chinese painting. He lives in Westchester County, New York.
More about Ed Young...

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