I grew up with just one Chinese Folk Tale picture book. I had a tattered copy of The Five Chinese Brothers with cartoon-like illustrations. It wasn’t my favorite book and so I didn’t realize how many more great Chinese Folk Tales were out there.
For my own children, I read them more Korean and Japanese Folk Tales than Chinese, and it is heartening to see how many great Chinese Folk Tales have been published since I was a child. We especially enjoyed The Empty Pot and created a book club event around the sequel, The Greatest Power.
What are your favorite Chinese Folk or Fairy Tales? Thanks for sharing!
p.s. More folktales:
24 Wonderful Chinese Folk Tales for Kids
The Rock Maiden by Natasha Yim, illustrated by Pirkko Vainio
Ling Lee lived in a fishing village in Hong Kong and fell in love with a kind, young fisherman. When he was lost at sea, she never gave up hope of her return, climbing to the top of a cliff overlooking the sea to watch for him. Her lonely figure was noticed by a god who turned her and her baby into stone. About a year later, her husband returns and discovers what has happened. Tin Hau, the patron god of fisherman, again intervenes, rewarding true love. Natasha Yim retells this folk tale with a happy ending. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Magic Horse of Han Gan by Chen Jiang Hong
Han Gan lived 1,200 years ago in China. He grew up impoverished, but because a great painter of horses. Chen Jiang Hong painted the illustrations using the same technique than Han Gan used. In this story, Han Gan’s talent is rumored to bring real horses to life through the images he paints. A warrior asked for such a horse to fight the enemy at the gates. Han Gan’s horse is invincible and the warrior, while on his back, can not be hurt, however, the warrior’s thirst for conquest, and saddens the horse. The horse finally throws the warrior off his back and runs off. When the warrior searches for the horse, returning to find Han Gan, he find that one of the paintings has a new addition … the warrior’s horse. [picture book, ages 5 and up]