Today’s review for my diversity reading challenge falls into category #1. If you are joining is this challenge as a reader or reviewer, feel free to mention in the comments what books you have been reading.
Title: Father’s Chinese Opera
Written and illustrated By: Rich Lo
Published By: Sky Pony Press, 2014
Themes/Topics: Chinese opera, hard work, patience
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Fiction, 40 pages.
Father was the band leader and composer of the Chinese Opera in Hong Kong.
Sometimes I sat on top of the instrument cases and watched the actors onstage
This story is loosely autobiographical. The Chinese opera is a rich and ancient art form. Songs, acrobatics, acting, flag carriers, musicians… make the opera a truly spectacular show to behold for one little boy who spends his summer backstage at his father’s Chinese opera in Hong Kong. He is fascinated with the skill of the performers, especially the acrobats, and starts to dream of being part of the show. To this end he rehearses the moves day and night: The striking leopard, the flying dragon, the white crane. Soon the boy thinks he is ready to perform with the professionals, but the choreographer doesn’t agree. In fact, he mocks the boy when asked to join the acrobats. The little boy goes home in a pout. He’s embarrassed that he has boasted to all his friends that he will take part. His wise father takes him aside that evening and explains all the preparation and training he went through before leading an opera troupe. The next day the little boy begins to practice with the flag carriers, the entry role into an opera troupe.
Why I like This Book:
There is so much packed into these forty pages. It is a creative and cultural story about the workings of a Chinese opera. It is a family story about a father and son’s relationship. It is a story about the value and rewards of hard work and patience. It is a story full of heart and depth with enchanting, vivacious, colorful illustrations. The book illustrates that dreams can be realized with commitment and determination. This would be a great classroom addition for lessons on China or the arts.
The book contains an author’s note about the Chinese opera and about his own father’s life as a composer, plus suggested further reading.