Chinese Folk Tales 2
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Chinese Folk Tales in the Classroom
This book, like so many of its kind, is a compilation of traditional Chinese folk tales. These are told simply and are easy to understand. This would be an excellent resource to address Language Arts Standards and Objectives on any grade level for literature comparisons of similar themes from different cultural sources. It would also serve as a cultural teaching tool in itself as several of the stories involve classic Chinese elements of spirits, nature, and rulers that would be commonly accepted in China and would provide interesting conversations about different cultures’ perspectives on such things to American students.
The value of this particular book is in its authenticity. Many elementary literary anthologies and series include folktales either from or about different cultures. Unfortunately, these stories sometimes have a dubious credibility. They present as if an American author has written something set in an Asian country with Asian characters but may or may not actually be from that culture. These stories often seem to have a Westernized slant. For example, in my own elementary series, we have a folk tale set in China with Chinese characters, but in the story, a child offers a solution to a problem to an adult. None of the folk tales in the book listed above, on the other hand, have such plot a plot device. It would seem contrary to Chinese reverence for elders that a child would outthink an adult. I can’t say for certain whether or not the Chinese tale in my book is authentic as there is no author or provenance provided; therefore, I cannot fully endorse using the tale for the comparison. The Chinese Folk Tales above not only has the stories I need, but the authenticity to truly meet the standard.
Chinese Folk Tales is rendered well artistically. The text is written simplistically for easy understanding. It includes Chinese writing as well for the students to see and appreciate. The illustrations are a wonderful example of Chinese watercolor painting, which would serve a secondary purpose in an art lesson as well. All in all, this book has several classroom applications.