________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 26. . . .March 11, 2016


The Story of Paper. (Amazing Chinese Inventions).

Ying Chang Compestine. Illustrated by YongSheng Xuan.
San Francisco, CA: Immedium, 2016.
36 pp., hardcover, $15.95 (US).
ISBN 978-1-59702-123-4.

Subject Headings:

Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

*** /4

Reviewed from F&Gs.



Papa and Mama walked into the courtyard. “What’s this we hear about ants, worms, and grasshoppers?” thundered Papa.

Heads bowed, the boys quickly lined up in front of Mama and Papa.

“Those bugs like to play with us,” whispered Pan.

“Yes, those naughty bugs keep teasing us. I tried to add them up, but they jumped away,” Ting added.

“I wish we didn’t have to write on the ground,” said Kůai. Papa and Mama looked at each other and sighed.


Originally published in 2003, but now with a simplified Chinese translation, this bilingual picture book is one of four books in the “Amazing Chinese Inventions” series (The Story of Chopsticks, The Story of Noodles, The Story of Kites). Set in the past, this is the story of three elementary school-aged brothers who solve an embarrassing problem by using what is available in their house, in this case, their mother’s silk scraps, water, twigs and leaves. Through teamwork, the boys turn the mush in the bucket into something they can write on. Once it is presented and named zhi (paper) by the emperor, the teacher stops writing messages to the parents on the boys’ hands. The repetition of the phrases that contain the words grasshoppers, ants, and worms make this an attention-grabbing read-aloud, as do the stained glass looking illustrations. Not all children will be able to read the Chinese characters under the English text, but they will discover how different the two languages look. The Story of Paper encourages the reader to be inventive, yet practical, when solving a problem.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian at Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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