Friday, 26 January 2018

ReadItDaddy's Second Picture Book of the Week - Week Ending 26th January 2018 - "The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes" by Ying Chang Compestine and David Roberts (Abrams)

Our second Picture Book of the Week this week just couldn't be ignored - a fantastic folk tale based around the very beginnings of the amazing "Silk Road" from China to the rest of the world...
The real story of The Emperor's New Clothes has nothing to do with a slightly dimwitted person walking around in the nuddy thinking they're wearing the finest silk ever made. It's actually a superb chinese folk tale, here retold and respun just like fine silk by Ying Chang Compestine and David Roberts.

"The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes" tells the story of Ming Da who, at the tender ages of 9 years old, became the emperor of China.

Imagine taking on that level of responsibility as a young carefree lad.

Needless to say it's not long before Ming Da's  three unscrupulous advisors take advantage of the young emperor by stealing his rice, gold, and precious stones.

It's a lot of responsibility for a young boy. Emperor of China at 9 years old!

Ming Da might be young, but he's definitely not stupid. With the help of his tailors, he comes up with a clever idea to outsmart his devious advisors: He asks his tailors to make “magical” new clothes for him.

Anyone who is honest, the young emperor explains, will see the clothes’ true splendor, but anyone who is dishonest will see only burlap sacks. The emperor dons a burlap sack, and the ministers can’t help but fall for his cunning trick.

Poor Ming Da, but this cunning lad has a grand plan to show his advisors what's what!
There's some fascinating history around the core story about silk. Did you know, for example, that it comes from a worm's bum? Well, a caterpillar's to be more accurate - and there are some amazing insights into how silk is produced, how silk was first smuggled out of China and began to spread across the world - and how it is still a much sought-after resource today.

An absolutely stunning book this. The story is gloriously retold by Ying Chang Compestine, with absolutely fabulous illustrations from David Roberts, who really knows a thing or two about devising amazing looking spreads and scenes.

C's best bit: Finding out more about silk worms (I think we really need to sort out a visit to our local silk farm now!)

Daddy's best bit: A fabulous retelling of a famous story, and a glorious history lesson to boot. This is the sort of children's book we can sing about from the rooftops. Absolutely silky smooth stuff!

"The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes" by Ying Chang Compestine and David Roberts is out now, published by Abrams Young Readers (kindly supplied for review).