Sunday, June 21, 2009
The Seven Chinese Brothers
Once upon a time, when Ch'in Shih Huang was emperor of all China, seven remarkable brothers lived together on a beautiful hillside.
They walked alike, they talked alike, they even looked so much alike it was hard to tell one brother from the brother next to him.
All the same, each brother had something special about him. Each brother had one amazing power that was all his own.
I have owned this book for quite some time. It sat on my shelf in my classroom when I taught 3rd grade and then 6th grade. I had never read it aloud until recently, when I read it to my boys.
Since then, I've read it aloud to my first grade class each year and they are just enthralled by the story.
Something about a story that starts, "Once upon a time" and that has brothers with magical strengths, just gets them. Always, one or two kids will just shout out while I'm reading, "This is an awesome story"It's a little scary. An emperor is trying to kill each of the brothers (who he thinks is just one person).
He throws one brother in the ocean, but his legs grow so long, he never drowns.
He attempts to burn a brother, but the one who loves fire, puts himself in his brother's place and enjoys the toasty warmth.The youngest brother, the one who was the baby of the family, is the one the other brothers try to keep happy, for if he cries, he creates giant tears that could drown an entire village.
In the end, he does cry, but his tears end up saving everyone.
This is a story my two boys ask for again and again. I know they love how each brother has a special strength of his own.
The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Jean and Mou-sien Tseng