"A library book, I imagine, is a happy book." Cornelia Funke

"Everything puts me in mind of a story." Ben Franklin

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Lost Horse: a Chinese Folktale

The Lost Horse: a Chinese Folktale by Ed Young, 1998.

The Lost Horse may remind older readers of Fortunately by Remy Charlip (which I believe was published in 1964) because of the twists and turns of fate. Ed Young tells us that the story is a proverb in China with variations throughout the Middle East. In Young's expanded version, Sai, the wise man, is able to recognize that when something happens, it is difficult to judge whether it is good or bad without getting some perspective on the whole situation. When his strong and fast horse runs away during a thunderstorm, people are sorry for Sai, but he knows that it may not be such a bad thing after all, and is proven right when his horse returns a few days later, accompanied by a fine mare. Yet, Sai realizes she may not be a wholly good gain...

This book was published as a book and puppet set, but sadly, the library copy that I'm reading no longer has the puppets. Apparently, three were included so that kids could tell their own stories. Young's illustrations are pastel and watercolor paint and collage and once again use warm earthy tones. At the book's beginning, he has included Chinese calligraphy telling the original Chinese story.

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