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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by Paul Yee
Age Range: 6-8
Bamboo is a simple farmer who shares his family land with his brother Banyan and his wife Jin. Bamboo’s new wife, Ming plants a grove of bamboo which grows strong and healthy but life is hard and Bamboo decides to go to the New World to seek his fortune. In his absence Jin, who has becomes jealous of Ming, encourages her husband to take the best fields, the plough and buffalo for themselves. Ming’s life is made a misery; she is left with no tools and poor land, but there is something mysterious about the bamboo she has planted and Ming finds the help and sustenance she needs from a mysterious force.
This is a heart-warming folktale, set in rural China at the turn-of-the-century, by Paul Yee, (who was born in Saskatchewan and grew up in Vancouver’s Chinatown). The illustrations by Shaoli Wang, (born and raised in Qing Dao, China but now living in British Columbia), have a folk-art-style that perfectly capture the rural scenes and traditional home life of the family – the houses, the vegetables sold at the market and the landscape surrounding the village.
The story's theme of how good can prevail over the evil actions of others will be familiar; the magic of the bamboo brings great fortune to Bamboo and Ming because of their kindness and generosity to all those around them. The illustrations will also help the reader to imagine what life was like in a Chinese village long ago.