BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine, illustrated by Sebastià Serra

Runaway WokTo commemorate a dear friend’s birthday, today’s title had certain content requirements: something about a new year, obedient children (every parent’s dream-birthday wish!), delicious food, giggly humor, all wrapped up in colorful packaging. Thankfully, Ying Chang Compestine‘s latest kiddie adventure (with the artful assistance of illustrator Sebastià Serra) embodies all of the above … and more!

Young Ming, “eager to do his mother’s bidding,” goes to the market to trade the hardworking family’s last eggs for a bag of rice. It’s Chinese New Year’s Eve and the small family has little with which to celebrate, because greedy Mr. Li – the richest man in Beijing – is determined his poor employees will continue to suffer.

At the market, Ming is distracted by a small old man who convinces him that a rusty, handle-less wok is a much better trade than rice. The wok, in fact, sings: “‘Boy, Boy, trade for me, / I am more than what you see.””

Happily convinced, Ming takes the wok home, although his mother is not exactly happy to see it. The wok then sings out another easy request, this time to polish it, and the sweet mother obliges. Once shiny and sparkling, the wok runs off … but quickly returns laden with enough food for a true New Year feast. The wok’s good deeds are not yet finished … and off it goes back to the rich man’s equally greedy son, and finally to the rich man himself … no knows the word “share” in that dysfunctional family!

Being generous and kind, Ming and his parents are quick to share their newly-delivered bounty with the rest of villagers. Talk about starting the new year with good karma, huh? Happy, happy to all …

Click here to check out Compestine’s other titles posted on BookDragon.

Readers: Children

Published: 2011


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