Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Story About Ping

The Story about Ping
Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese
The Viking Press, 1933

A wildly popular book, it has somewhat of a colored past with controversy surrounding its seemingly racist portrayal of the Chinese as well as some undertones of animal cruelty. If you can get past all that, it is really a delightful book with wonderful illustrations -- the sentiment being that there's no place like home (even if home means getting whacked on the butt with a rod and an eventual death by slaughter.)

SPLASH! There in the water was a Boy! A little boy with a barrel on his back which was tied to a rope from the boat just as all boat boys on the Yangtze river are tied to their boats.

Wikipedia says that Ms. Flack was married for a while to the artist Karl Larsson who was one of my favorites as a girl. And according to the Michener Museum Web site, Mr. Wiese was German born and did the drawings for the original Bambi book. He spent some time in China selling merchandise as a young man, thus accounting for any dated visual opinions about the Chinese.

Pretty much anything old nowadays tends to offend, so on some level you have to be able to explain outdated concepts to your kids so hopefully they can begin to learn and understand the world around them better than our grandparents did.

Also by:
The Five Chinese Brothers
The Country Bunny
Tim Tadpole and the Great Bullfrog
Angus and the Cat
The Wonderful Story of Ting Ling

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