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Dream-Of-Jade: The Emperor's Catby Lloyd Alexander
Synopses & Reviews
A deep friendship begins between the great Kwan-Yu, emperor of China, and a beautiful, uniquely gifted cat named Dream-of-Jade. Filled with details from ancient Chinese court life, sharp wit, and good-natured satire, this tale exposes the rigidity of ancient imperial customs and traditions. Illustrations.
"Each of Alexander's (the Prydain Chronicles) five stories explores how the relationship between a talking cat, Dream-of-Jade, and Kwan-Yu, Celestial Emperor of China's Middle Kingdom, gradually frees the Emperor from his advisers' bureaucratic stranglehold. Perhaps best suited to newly independent readers, the tales (first published in Cricket magazine) range from eight to 11 pages, with a generous helping of illustrations breaking up lengthy chunks of text. The strongest of the stories leads off: 'How Dream-of-Jade Looked at the Emperor' describes their initial meeting. Dream-of-Jade, 'as curious as she was beautiful, and as determined as she was curious,' defies custom, sits on the throne (where she notices loose ceiling tiles) and gazes directly at the Emperor's face. When the Emperor alerts his Chief Minister to this etiquette violation, the fellow responds: 'Son of Heaven, your observation is highly illuminating. There does, in fact, appear to be a feline creature so situated and performing the ocular activity you have so graciously called to my unworthy attention.' The Chief Minister calls for the cat's execution, but Dream-of-Jade leaps onto the Emperor just as the ceiling tiles fall, saving his life and winning his friendship. Thanks to Dream-of-Jade's valuable life lessons, the Emperor comes to discern when his counselors proffer officious, nonsensical guidance. Burkett (My Own Backyard) humorously illustrates the havoc the feline's advice wreaks (in one scene the Emperor, chasing a piece of string, upsets the entire kitchen) and captures the growing love between the wise cat and the perceptive Emperor who comes to appreciate her honesty. Ages 7-up. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
No ordinary man is permitted to see the great Kwan-Yu, emperor of China, but this doesn't stop the beautiful, green-eyed Dream-of-Jade, since she is not an ordinary man, but a rather unusual cat. When Dream-of-Jade decides she wants to see His Highness, she simply slips into the empty throne room and sits upon the imperial throne. When Kwan-Yu arrives, she does not give up her seat, but does point out the dangerous state of the emperors ceiling. Thus begins the great friendship between an Emperor and a little white cat, who not only saves the emperors life at their first meeting, but knows how to cure his ailments, make him laugh, and entertain him, and whose greatest wish is to make Kwan-Yu the best emperor ever to rule China.
Lloyd Alexander has written this little masterpiece filled with details from ancient Chinese court life. With his sharp wit, tongue-in-cheek humor, and good-natured satire, he exposes the rigidity of ancient imperial customs and traditions. Dream-of-Jades no-nonsense solutions to seemingly insurmountable problems delight children and adults alike, making this tale an unforgettable reading adventure for the entire family.
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