I have read many books by Demi and I always loved the fact that Demi is always exploring different cultures with her works. So, imagine my surprise a I have read many books by Demi and I always loved the fact that Demi is always exploring different cultures with her works. So, imagine my surprise and delight when I stumbled upon another one of Demi’s works called “The Artist and the Architect,” which is a tale that takes place in China. Man, did I end up enjoying this mesmerizing tale of deceit and cunning!
In Ancient China, there lived a wise and fair Emperor who had two experienced men, an architect and an artist who would create various buildings and artwork for the Emperor. Unfortunately, the artist was always jealous of the architect and he decided to plot the demise of the architect. The artist then tells the Emperor about how the Emperor’s deceased father wanted an architect to build him a palace in Heaven and in order to do that, they must gather a large pile of wood and set it on fire with the architect standing in the middle of the fire until he rises up to Heaven.
I have always loved reading folktales from different countries, especially China and I was so delighted in finding another folktale from China retold by none other than Demi! I loved the way that Demi retold this tale as it was full of drama and magical elements at the same time! I was amazed at the fact that this is a tale about the artist deceiving the Emperor in order to get rid of the architect, which is a subject that I find so common in many folktales where the main antagonist wishes to get rid of the protagonist through any means possible and that is what made this story so interesting to read! I also loved the Chinese influence of this tale as it made this story even more exotic in tone and I have always enjoyed checking out folktales from different countries! But, probably the best part of this entire book was Demi’s illustrations as they were truly beautiful and creative to look at! I loved the way that Demi drew the palaces in China as they look so beautiful and I also loved the clothing worn by the Emperor and his subjects as they truly look so distinguished!
The only problem I had with this book was that the ending seemed a bit too ambiguous, since I was not able to figure out what became of the artist at the end of the book.
(view spoiler)[The only thing I gathered from the ending of the book was this little proverb that was mentioned:
“The small man harbors an envious spirit; the great man rejoices in the talents of others.”
It is sort of unknown if the architect forgave the artist for his deceit or not, although it looked like they were making up at the end, judging by the image of them shaking hands. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, “The Artist and the Architect” is a fantastic folktale from China that fans of Chinese folklore would enjoy immensely! I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the book might be too complex for some smaller children.
I have read many interpretations of the classic Brothers Grimm tale “The Fisherman and his Wife,” but this is the first time I have read the Russian vI have read many interpretations of the classic Brothers Grimm tale “The Fisherman and his Wife,” but this is the first time I have read the Russian version of this tale. “The Magic Gold Fish” is a Russian folktale retold by Demi and it is about how a poor fisherman wants to please his greedy wife when he finds a magic golden fish. “The Magic Gold Fish” is a great retelling of the ancient tale that children everywhere will love!
One day, a poor fisherman catches a gold fish and the gold fish promised to repay the kind fisherman in any kind of way. Unfortunately, the fisherman’s greedy wife wanted more from the fish, which includes a cottage, a mansion and a czarina!
Ever since I have been reading Demi’s works, I was always amazed at how detailed and beautiful her retellings of ancient folktales are! Demi’s writing is extremely dramatic and interesting at the same time as the fisherman is thrown into one crazy situation into another and I loved the Russian elements being put into this story such as “czarina” and “distaff.” Demi’s illustrations were simply gorgeous as she uses traditional Chinese inks to illustrate the drawings in this book. I especially loved the Russian landscapes in this book such as the picture of the royal palace looking red and having red flags waving in the air. I also loved the illustrations of the fisherman’s wife being dressed in gold and red royal clothing after she wishes to be a czarina and it really helped me see Russia in ancient times through a picture book.
The problem I had with this book is that the wife is a bit too cruel in this version as she goes from beating her husband up to making him live in the stables and pushing him away from her. Okay, well maybe she is more vain than cruel, but it was just so hard to even like her character in this version and I constantly feel sorry for the fisherman as he has to take his wife’s abuse throughout the book. So in a way, the ending was a bit satisfying for me because the fisherman’s wife gets what is coming to her for her greed, but at the same time, I felt that there should have been more added at the end, such as whether or not the fisherman’s wife learned her lesson or not.
All in all, “The Magic Gold Fish” was an interesting spin on the classic Brothers Grimm tale and children everywhere who love reading Russian folktales will definitely enjoy this classic tale! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the greedy wife might upset smaller children. ...more
**spoiler alert** I have read many books by Demi and I have always enjoyed her impressive storytelling techniques. Now, I have recently read this rare**spoiler alert** I have read many books by Demi and I have always enjoyed her impressive storytelling techniques. Now, I have recently read this rare gem, “The Hallowed Horse,” which is a folktale from India and it is about how a spirited white horse is destined to be India’s savior from the evil Kaliya, the Multi-Headed Snake. “The Hallowed Horse” is a truly memorable folktale about friendship and destinies that children will love!
Many years ago, there lived a king in India who needed a Hallowed Horse to defeat a horrible snake monster named Kaliya, the Multi-Headed Snake from destroying his kingdom. Over in the country far away from the palace, a spirited young white foal was born and a poor potter ended up taking care of the young foal. Later on in the king’s palace, a dozen astrologers were searching for the white horse until they found the white horse with the potter and asked him if he would give the horse to them so they could give it to the king.
Wow! This book was so amazing to read! Demi has done an excellent job at both writing and illustrating this ancient Indian folktale about friendship and following your destiny. Demi’s writing is both heartwarming and dramatic at the same time as I really felt the true friendship between the white horse and the potter as they were truly close to each other and I was on the edge of my seat when I saw the great battle between Kaliya, the Multi-Headed Snake and the Hallowed Horse. It was also interesting to see where Demi got the inspiration to make this story and I loved the information she gives out at the end of the story about how the first kings in Indian legends were heavenly. Demi’s illustrations are extremely beautiful as the borders on each page are filed with tiny horses galloping behind each other which make the borders look extremely beautiful. I also loved the images of all the flowers in the background as they look truly beautiful and fit the calming mood of the story perfectly. I also loved the image of the white horse itself as it is truly beautiful and is always seen jumping around the pages.
The only thing that slightly bothered me in this book was how the potter seems to have forgotten about the white horse once the astrologers took the horse away. It is like the moment they gave the potter new horses, he seem to not notice the white horse being taken away. I mean, I know that the white horse was destined to belong to the king, but I guess I was hoping for the potter to come with the white horse to the palace to be near him and that would have made their friendship seem genuine.
All in all, “The Hallowed Horse” is a wonderful tale about true friendship that everyone will enjoy! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up due to the length of the story being a bit too long for smaller children.
I have actually first heard of this tale from Rabbit Ears’ version of The Firebird which was narrated by Susan Sarandon, but now I have finally stumblI have actually first heard of this tale from Rabbit Ears’ version of The Firebird which was narrated by Susan Sarandon, but now I have finally stumbled upon Demi’s version of the classic Russian folktale, “The Firebird.” “The Firebird” is about a young archer named Dimitri who finds a firebird feather and goes on an adventure of a lifetime in fulfilling the Tsar’s greedy needs! “The Firebird” is a truly wonderful classic folktale that children everywhere will love for many years!!
I am a huge fan of various folktales around the world and reading this version of the classic Russian folktale is definitely no exception! Demi has done an excellent job at both illustrating and writing this fantastic folktale about the importance of not throwing caution to the wind. What I really loved about Demi’s writing is how she based this version on Arthur Ransome’s popular book “Old Peter’s Russian Tales,” which is extremely interesting to know since I have heard about “Old Peter’s Russian Tales” so much from other reviewers. I also loved the way that Demi made the book extremely dramatic and exciting at the same time as I was literally drawn into how Dimitri would be able to get out of the troubling situation he has thrown himself into and I also loved how Demi made the Tsar’s greed for power into something that can make a person corruptive, which is true. It was also interesting seeing how Dimitri and Princess Vassilissa met each other through a sea of flames, which is an interesting way to meet your true love since it is not everyday that you get to meet the person you love at the edge of the world! Demi’s illustrations are extremely beautiful and creative as Demi uses traditional Chinese paints, inks and brushes and watercolor paints and paper to create the illustrations for this book. My favorite illustration in this book was of Dimitri jumping into the cauldron of boiling water and I loved how the fire was drawn as the fire seems like it is literally licking at Dimitri and has golden, orange and yellow colors that truly show how effective this scene really is.
Parents should know that there are some threatening situations in this book which includes Dimitri being threatened with death numerous times throughout the book and that might scare smaller children. Parents might want to talk to their children about being bullied into doing something they do not want to do before they read them this book.
All in all, “The Firebird” is a truly brilliant classic that children who love reading Russian folktales will definitely get a kick out for many years! I would recommend this book to children ages six and up due to the length of this book and because the threatening situations might scare smaller children.
Is there not anything that Demi cannot do? “Liang and the Magic Paintbrush” is a Chinese folktale by Demi that is about a young boy named Liang who reIs there not anything that Demi cannot do? “Liang and the Magic Paintbrush” is a Chinese folktale by Demi that is about a young boy named Liang who receives a magic paintbrush from a magical man and every time Liang painted with the paintbrush, whatever he painted would come to life and he also must avoid the evil emperor at all costs! “Liang and the Magic Paintbrush” is truly a beautiful tale about the consequences of being greedy that many children will love for years!
Demi had made this book completely beyond amazing with her beautiful illustrations and her dazzling writing of this ancient Chinese folktale. Demi makes this book extremely exciting as Liang is immediately thrown into trouble when the Emperor forces Liang to come to his palace to do his evil biddings with the paintbrush. I loved the way that Demi made Liang into such a kind-hearted and clever character as he truly uses his magic paintbrush for good intentions such as helping out his family and friends and it is that aspect of Liang’s personality that I really enjoyed since I also love helping other people during their time of needs too. I also thought that the idea about a magic paintbrush bringing paintings to life is truly creative and amazing as I never would have read about an object that would bring drawings to life, although that does seem to be the norm for many fairy tales. Demi’s illustrations are extremely beautiful, especially the way that Demi drew the bamboo trees in luscious green colors and I also loved the image of Liang himself as he has dark hair and small eyes and he is always shown wearing a beige colored robe which clearly makes him look distinguished and innocent.
All in all, “Liang and the Magic Paintbrush” is a truly magnificent book for children who love Chinese folktales and love to learn about the consequences of being too greedy. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the Chinese names might be too difficult for smaller children to read through....more
Another truly memorable book from well-known folklorist author, Demi, “The Magic Boat” is a true masterpiece in its own right as it details the storyAnother truly memorable book from well-known folklorist author, Demi, “The Magic Boat” is a true masterpiece in its own right as it details the story of a young boy named Chang who receives a magic boat from an old man he rescued. “The Magic Boat” is a truly wonderful experience for the whole family!
All I can say is…wow! This book was so amazing that words truly cannot express how much raw emotion I have felt from this book! Demi has done an excellent job at both writing and illustrating this story about magic and the power of kindness! I just loved how Demi illustrated Chinese inspired images of all the characters and the environment and I loved how all the characters are dressed up in magnificent robes, especially the image of Chang himself as he is mainly wearing white lavish pants and a white robe which makes him look extremely innocent throughout the book. I also loved the way that Demi illustrated the background images, especially of the images of the rivers having blue lines drawn through them and I loved how the trees are so luscious and green, which truly brings out the beauty of the environment around the characters. Demi has also done an excellent job at writing this story, as the story is both exciting and heartwarming at the same time. I loved the way that Demi made the character Chang into such a likeable character by making him caring and trustworthy towards others and I loved how those traits are shown in a positive light. I also loved the way that Demi translated the Chinese names for each character by stating the characters’ names and then explaining what the words mean like for example, “Chang” means “honesty” in Chinese and “Ying” means “tricky” in Chinese.
Parents should know that there is a brief violent scene of a character being beaten up by sticks and although this scene is not particularly graphic, this might upset smaller children. Parents should tell their children that it is not right to beat up other people because of a disagreement and that you should always talk about the problem firsthand.
All in all, “The Magic Boat” is a truly magnificent book to read for children who are fans of Chinese folklore and Demi’s works! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up due to the violent scene....more
I have been reading many works by Demi lately and now I wish to share my excitement about a Chinese folktale I have recently read called “The Empty PoI have been reading many works by Demi lately and now I wish to share my excitement about a Chinese folktale I have recently read called “The Empty Pot.” “The Empty Pot” is a Chinese folktale by Demi which is about the Emperor of China making a proclamation throughout China that whoever can plant him the most beautiful flower will the successor for his throne. “The Empty Pot” is truly one of the most clever folktales about honesty that was ever created!
A Long time ago in China, there lived a boy named Ping who grew the most beautiful flowers in all of China. Now, Ping was not the only person in China who loved flowers since all the people loved flowers, especially the Emperor. Unfortunately, the Emperor was getting old and he needed a successor for his throne and so he decided to issue a proclamation that whoever can grow the most beautiful flower from the seed he gives out will be the successor to his throne. All the children in the kingdom received their seeds from the Emperor and they all started planting their seeds, including Ping.
Brilliant and beautiful this book is all about! Demi has done an excellent job at both writing and illustrating this book about the importance of being honest with others. What I really loved about this book was how the Emperor used the flower contest as a way of seeing who is worthy of being his successor and I loved the fact that Demi brought out the message that honesty is what makes a good ruler and I totally agree! I also loved the character Ping as he is honest and he tries his hardest to grow a beautiful flower and the honest characteristic is what I loved the most about Ping! Demi's illustrations are just simply beautiful, especially of the images of the blossom trees around China and I also loved the appearances of the children themselves as they are extremely cute and they always wear a smile on their faces, especially at the idea of growing the most beautiful flower to impress the Emperor!
All in all, “The Empty Pot” is a brilliant book about the importance of honesty and anyone who loves Chinese folktales will definitely enjoy this book! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since some of the Chinese names might be a bit hard for smaller children to understand.
I have read many books by world-renowned children’s book author, Demi, but I have not gotten around to reviewing any of Demi’s books yet. “One Grain oI have read many books by world-renowned children’s book author, Demi, but I have not gotten around to reviewing any of Demi’s books yet. “One Grain of Rice” is the first book by Demi that I am reviewing and it is a folktale from India that is about a young woman named Rani who tries to trick the raja of India into giving her more rice than is needed during a famine. “One Grain of Rice” is truly a worthy folktale that will be loads of fun for children!
When Demi stated in the title of this book that this is a clever tale, she was not kidding! Demi has done an excellent job at both illustrating and writing this clever story that is full of pure wit! What really stood out for me in Demi’s writing was how Demi portrayed the main character Rani as a clever and independent heroine of the story as Rani uses her wits and her talented use of mathematics as a way to teach the raja a lesson he will never forget! I also loved the way that Demi uses mathematics as a major plot device in this book as it helps children learn more about mathematics and Demi made this book even more helpful for children by providing a chart at the back of the book about how Rani doubled each number per day, so you do not have to necessarily use a calculator to work out the formula used by Rani, but you can use a calculator if you want to teach your child about how to work out the problems on their own. Demi’s illustrations are extremely beautiful in this book as she uses watercolor painting to illustrate the characters and the landscapes. My favorite images in this book are of Rani herself as she is a truly beautiful looking character as she wears a gorgeous Indian red dress and has flowing black hair that touches her back. I also enjoyed the images of all the animals that were being used when they were delivering the rice to Rani and the image that truly stood out for me was the image of the elephants bring Rani the rice in baskets as the page is folded out and you can see hundreds of elephants waking across the page.
Overall, “One Grain of Rice” is a truly wonderful and clever folktale for children who love folktales from India and want to learn about mathematics in a creative way! I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the mathematical approach in this story might be too difficult for smaller children to understand. ...more