"Today the greatest challenge in publishing is distribution and discoverability. As a result, sites like [PictureBooksReview] are more important than ever to discerning readers, new authors and independent publishers."
-Steve Floyd, chief executive officer of August House books

"The interview is so amazing! I appreciate you picking up on all these aspects of what I've been doing. It's always great to talk with someone who understands what goes into these things."

- Jose Lucio, self-published author of Heave Ho!
Showing posts with label Lon Po Po. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lon Po Po. Show all posts

6.21.2011

Lon Po Po (1989)

Translated and Illustrated by Ed Young
.
Watercolors and pastels
.
Philomel Books


I loved this book for two reasons before I even read it. First, the wonderful cover - so dark and mysterious, those white glowing eyes which betray no anger, no fear, no emotion of any kind. And then, there is the dedication:

To all the wolves of the world for lending their good name as a tangible symbol of our darkness.

The rest of the book could have been filled with blank pages, and I'd be a happy man.

This is a Red Riding Hood story, we are told, one that has been passed down orally in China for over a thousand years. There is a a wolf (lon) disguised as a grandmother (Po Po), for the purpose of devouring small grandchildren.

"Be good while I am away, my heart-loving children. Remember to close the door tight at sunset and latch it well."


 In this version, the elements of the story are reversed from how we generally know it. It is the mother who travels to see the grandmother, and the children who are left at home. And it is the wolf who comes to their home, disguised as old Po Po, knocking on the door twice (which I thought was a curious detail to add, so used am I to things happening in threes).


Young uses a technique he calls panel art to move the story along - which on the surface appears to be an ancient form of comic strip art. Each illustration is divided up into several panels which form a single image, and also suggest the passage of time and movement within that image. I can take it all in in an eyeful, yet I also feel the moments ticking by as the children determine whether or not to give the presumed Po Po entrance.

"How is it that you come so late?"
"The journey is long, my children, and the day short."
.
"Why is your voice so low?"
"Your grandmother has caught a cold, grandchildren, and it is dark and windy out here."

Clearly, it is this rhythm of question and answer which is a hallmark of a Red Riding Hood story, much more-so than the presence of and Red Hoods.
.

"Your foot has a bush on it."
"Po Po had brought hemp string to weave you a basket."
.
"Your hand has thorns on it."
"Po Po has brought an awl to make shoes for you."

Such a comforting rhythm. It is therefore a chilling effect when the children ask,"Po Po, why did you blow out the candle?" and there is no answer given.


Click here for more Chinese Folktales!

Click here for more books by Ed Young!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...