Thursday, February 13, 2014
Chinese Fables by Shiho S. Nunes
Chinese Fables: "The Dragon Slayer" and Other Timeless Tales of Wisdom by Shiho S. Nunes, Illus. by Lak-Khee Tay-Audouard, 2013.
The book's preface explains that the nineteen fables in this collection were chosen from Chinese Fables and Parables by Wolfram Eberhard, an American folklorist. In the eary 1970s, he recorded five hundred tales with a line or two. Nunes expanded the descriptions into stories such as "The Practical Bride," "Kwan-Yin, the Goddess of Mercy," and ""Sakyami and Lao-Tse," and kept the core truths and moral lessons. Many, like ""Scaring the Tigers," "The Same Difference" and "The King of Beasts," will make readers smile. The original sources, from 500-250 BCE to 1368-1643, are listed in the back of the book.
The book's attractive pencil and wash pictures have elements of traditional Chinese art and are inspired by Chinese folk art. To match the "rustic quality of these tales" Lak-Khee Tay-Audouard used ground tea powder, earth, pressed leaves, sackcloth, charcoal and bamboo rag paper to create her illustrations.