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THE SLEEPER

David Day
Illustrated by Mark Entwisle

Toronto, Doubleday, 1990. 32pp, cloth, $14.95
ISBN 0-385-25253-6. CIP


Kindergarten to Grade 5/Ages 5 to 10
Reviewed by Mollie Hooper.

Volume 18 Number 6
1990 November


Based on the traditions and histories of ancient China, the original fairy-tale is one of a series entitled "Folk Tales from Around the World," of which the lovely Swan Children was the first.

Wu Wing Wong lives in the Tong Mountains in a sacred monastery, which houses the finest library in the empire. Wu is the youngest of all the monks, but he loves the books and works hard in the library. Wu has one problem: he is always late because he cannot wake up in the morning.

A new emperor decrees that every book in the land must be brought to him. No one will be allowed to own a book. Wu is given the last and finest of the books to be loaded on three pack horses and taken to the emperor.

The story hinges on the frightening adventures that happen to him on his journey, but in the end Wu not only saves the books and averts a war but restores peace and happiness in China. His experience also teaches a lesson.

David Day's writing reflects the Chinese style brief yet vividly detailed, full of action and suspense, and made more vital by the use of colourful words and short sentences. More than half of the seventeen pages is taken up by pictures, so the story is not too long for this age group.

These illustrations by Mark Entwisle are beautiful. Saffron is the colour of the robes of the monks and Entwisle has very cleverly introduced some shade of this golden yellow on every page. The blue-green and the shadowy purples of nature combined with the saffron result in a dreamlike quality, in keeping with the story.

A lovely "read-aloud" book.


Mollie Hooper, Qualicum Beach, B.C.
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