Reading level: Ages 4-8
Pages: 32 pages
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (March, 2003)
Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 11.0 x 0.4 inches
• Bank Street College Best Books of the Year
• Booklist Starred Review
Good old-fashioned storytelling distinguishes Tucker's thoroughly engaging tale of courage, individual talent, and teamwork. Each of the seven Chinese sisters has a noteworthy skill: the eldest rides a scooter as fast as the wind; the second knows karate; the third can count to 500 and beyond; the fourth can talk to dogs; the fifth can catch any ball; the sixth cooks delicious noodle soup. The baby's talents are as yet undiscovered. One day, a hungry red dragon from a faraway mountain smells the soup and flies straight to the sisters' house. Distracted by plump Seventh Sister, he snatches her and steals her away (Her first word is "HELP!"). Then the sisters kick into action, each utilizing her unique talent in the rescue mission (especially amusing is the fourth sister's using dog talk to communicate with the dragon). Lin, of Dim Sum for Everyone! (2001), expertly captures the drama and humor of the story with delightful paintings that reveal lovely Chinese landscapes and a quirky, not-too-scary dragon. A wonderful read-aloud. Starred Review
In this retelling of an ancient Chinese folk tale, readers will be delighted to find vivid illustrations that capture a time and place far away, where seven Chinese sisters would have been rare. In The Seven Chinese Sisters, each sister has a special ability or hobby, such as riding a scooter very quickly, knowing karate, counting to five hundred and beyond, talking to dogs, catching balls and cooking. Seventh sister, however, is not even old enough to speak, and her special ability is not known yet. Incidentally, she is captured by a dragon and taken away to its cave in a mountain. The story takes an exciting turn when the sisters rally together to save their youngest sibling. Through their adventures, they rescue her and even decide to have compassion on her captor who is a starving, lonely dragon. The story line is reminiscent of other retellings such as The Five Chinese Brothers and The Seven Chinese Brothers where each sibling's special talent is utilized to solve a problem. However, it is unlike these stories in the way that, for instance, The Five Chinese Brothers was criticized for stereotyping Chinese people. The Seven Chinese Sisters is a splendidly illustrated story children are sure to enjoy. The patterned drawings by Lin and rich colours lend to the brightly told story. My only criticism would be Second Sister's special ability which is karate. Her ability would have been better if it was a well-known Chinese martial art as karate is known to be from Japan. It would have given the story a more authentic feel. Recommended. Rating: ** ½ /4. Preschool-grade 3. 2003, Albert Whitman (Distributed in Canada by Fitzhenry and Whiteside), 32 pp., cloth, $25.95. Ages 4 to 8.
Horn Book (Horn Book Guide, Fall 2003)
The story about brothers with unusual abilities is recast with seven sisters who have less quirky but equally useful talents--e.g., speaking to dogs and riding scooters as "fast as the wind." When a hungry dragon kidnaps Seventh Sister, the girls race to her rescue. The tale’s humor is played up in both text (apparently dog language can pass for dragon) and illustrations (the dragon looks woefully skinny).
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