Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Wishing Tree - Roseanne Thong

Illustrated by Connie McLennan
Shen's Books, 2004
32 pages
Rating: 5
Endpapers: Gold & beige decorated Chinese designs

I spent an hour browsing and reading in the Martha Cooper Library on Catalina - a small public library I rarely get to visit. The local neighborhood holds many cultures, and there are many kids' books in different languages here. In other words, a great multicultural find.

There's a huge banyan tree in Ming's hometown where his grandmother would always take him to make a wish for the lunar new year. She would purchase a Ng Bo Dip (Five Treasures Pile), a stack of decorated red and yellow papers. After writing a wish, the papers were rolled into a scroll, secured with string, and attached to a large mandarin orange. When ready, this was flung high into the banyan wishing tree.

For many years Ming and his grandmother enjoyed this yearly custom, until, when Ming was nine, his wish was not fulfilled and his grndmother's sickness does not get better. She dies. The rest of the story deals with grief resolution in a positive, helpful way.

Each two page spread is beautiful with an edge-to-edge illustration on one side and the text is usually within a pale-colored box that looks like paper. The same one inch Chinese patterns found on the endpapers are "seals" at the bottom of the page.

Fantastic explanation in the Author's Note at the end of the book.

Included are directions for making your own Ng Bo Dip and a black and white WISHING PAPER page to photocopy and use as the five pages.

Perfect addition to my 4th grade China study!

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