Mulan, created as a paperback picture book is a retelling of the folk song from China’s Northern Dynasty (439-589), about a remarkable girl. She was taught to read and write by her father and mastered many disciplines such as weaving, horse riding, using a sword and bow and arrows. One day the Emperor sent a messenger to summon Mulan’s father to fight in a war. He was incredibly old, and Mulan’s brother was too young to take his place. Mulan decided that she would go to represent the family.
For twelve years Mulan fought with the army, her gender never discovered. Her skills were so advanced that she fought in the front lines. When at last the war was over the Emperor wanted to reward his bravest heroes, and it was then that Mulan revealed her gender. She was offered rewards but asked for a fast horse to take her home to her family.
The legend is beautifully presented in this book. The paint wash pictures are pastel and give a gentle feel to the story. The text is written in English followed by simplified Chinese characters, which makes it quite interesting to follow. The text is easy to read except for the two pages where it is written over the paint wash.
For people looking for a non-European legend, or to introduce Chinese characters to young children, Mulan is a good example. It is also important to look at strong female characters in these tales. The loving family model is authentic and satisfying.
Mulan is told in both Chinese and English.
|Publisher||Shanghai Century Publishing|