Thursday, January 23, 2014
The Hunter: a Chinese Folktale
The Hunter: a Chinese Folktale retold by Mary Casanova, Illus. by Ed Young, 2000.
During a drought, the village hunter, Hai Li Bu, has occasion to rescue a pearly colored snake from a hungry crane. The reptile, not just what she seems, is the daughter of the Dragon King of the Sea, who rewards the hunter with the treasure of his choice. Although he is offered rubies, emeralds, sapphires or pearls, Hai Li Bu asks that he may understand the animal's language. With this talent he is able to provide food for his village and restore health to his people. Then one day he learns from the creatures that a flood is coming that will destroy the village. He has been told that if he reveals the source of his gift, he will be turned to stone. Yet, without proof his people will not believe his story of danger. Will Hai Li Bu sacrifice himself to save the lives of so many others?
Ed Young's pastel and gouache illustrations have graceful line drawings against warm sepia backgrounds, highlighted with white and subtle color.