Wan Hu Is in the Stars

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by Jennifer Armstrong. Picture Book. 32 pages. Grades 2-4.
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Review

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This book is currently out of print but still available used and through libraries.

The same author who wrote King Crow, Jennifer Armstrong, wrote this fairy tale. Set in China, this lovely picture book tells of a poet, Wan Hu, who wants more than anything to be and to learn among the stars in the sky. His absent minded behavior as he attempts to do so amuses and befuddles all the villagers except the gardener who somehow believes in him. Wan Hu's many attempts to reach the stars fail miserably until he straps himself to a chair and sets off many attached rockets. He sails off never to be seen again. The reader is left to wonder if he made it.

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Related Books

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    Grades 2 - 6
    Star Mother's Youngest Child by Louise Moeri. Illustrated by Hyman, Trina Schart. (2005, Sandpiper. ISBN 9780618615094.) Picture Book. 48 pages.
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    A lonely old woman shouts her loneliness at the Christmas sky on Christmas Eve. In the sky a young star child asks his mother for a chance to celebrate Christmas on earth. When the child shows up at her door, the old woman reacts with selfishness and anger until the child's warmth changes everything.

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    Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young. (1989, Philomel. ISBN 9780399216190. Order Info.) Picture Book. 32 pages. Gr 2-9.
    This tale from China is a version of Little Red Riding Hood. A mother leaves her three daughters while she visits their granny. While she's gone a wolf comes to their door disguised as their granny. It's the illustrations that bring this book to a high level. Young uses panels which echo Chinese decorative screens as well as full page spreads on which the image of the wolf is sometimes subtle but ubiquitous. It won the Caldecott Medal. We highly recommend it.

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