The Chinese Emperor’s New Clothes by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by David Roberts.
Ming Da is only nine years old when he becomes emperor of China and soon, his three advisers take advantage of the young emperor by stealing his rice, gold and precious stones. But Ming Da has a plan. With the help of his tailors, he comes up with a clever idea to outsmart his devious advisors: He asks his tailors to make “magical” new clothes for him. Anyone how is dishonest, the young emperor explains, will see the clothes’ true splendour, but anyone who is dishonest will only see burlap sacks. The emperor dons a burlap sack and the ministers can’t help fall for his cunning trick….
This is a fabulous retelling of The Emperor’s New Clothes that was inspired by the award-winning author’s childhood and growing up in the Chinese Cultural Revolution, at a time when Western fairy tales were banned. As a child the author got her hands on a dog-eared translation of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale and it sparked her own version of the story, now published in this beautifully illustrated picture book.
The Chinese twist gives a glimpse into the beautiful culture of China and David Robert’s gorgeous artwork brings this all to life. Full of humour and a wonderful example of generosity and courage in Ming Da the young emperor, it is very satisfying to see him win the day! Readers are invited to make their own Chinese New Year Robe with step by step instructions at the back of the book. The Chinese Emperor’s New Clothes introduces this classic fairytale and the lessons that can be learned from it to a new generation.
With thanks to Abrams & Chronicle for sending me this book to review.