Barbara's Reviews > Dancing to Freedom: The True Story of Mao's Last Dancer

Dancing to Freedom by Li Cunxin
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's review
Dec 31, 08

bookshelves: china, memoir, picture-books

Another picture book, and what a stunning one! This picture book version of Mao's Last Dancer is notable for its beautiful illustrations. The pictures showing life in China are done in watercolor and ink on rice paper. The greys, blues and oranges reflect a world where little is easy, starvation is a possibilty for many, and hard work fills every minute. When Li Cunxin goes to the United States, the artistic medium changes to oils with deep blues and reds dominating the palette. It's an interesting contrast because the oils convey a sense of richness while the watercolor suits the constraints of life in China at this period. The book was published first in Australia where Anne Spudvilas is a well-known illustrator. One reason I think the pictures have such a sense of authenticity is that she not only traveled with Li Cunxin to his village and to the Beijing Dance Academy but also studied traditional Chinese brush painting.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Marcy (new)

Marcy Barbara,
This looks lucious! More for sixth grade, don't you think?

Barbara You're right, Marcy. It's definitely a picture book for upper grades.

message 3: by Eris (new) - added it

Eris Doorneweerd Can't wait to read this one. I miss China, don't you?

message 4: by Marcy (new)

Marcy I miss going to China and I deeply miss Huajing who moved to Kentucky. My Driscoll family is almost no more.....Lilia and I feel very alone.

message 5: by Eris (new) - added it

Eris Doorneweerd The concept of "alone" brings me to my next question. I just finished Iris Murdoch's The Sea, the Sea and would like to hear from others who have read this , or any other books, by Murdoch. I don't want to comment until I hear from others.
Also, I still have no idea who is reading this comment. Is it just a few "friends" or all of my "friends'?

message 6: by Marcy (new)

Marcy Whoever has replied to Barbara's original comment about Dancing to Freedom is able to read all of the comments on this page.

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