Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Picture Book
What did you like about the book? This story shows how misfortunes can actually be blessings in disguise. The story features an eldery man named Sion who lives in a kingdom along the Great Wall of China. Sion is known throughout the land as being the best fortune-teller because his fortunes are always accurate. One day, some misfortunes start happening to Sion. First, his beloved horse jumps a river and goes to the neighboring kingdom. Sion’s kingdom is at war with this kingdom so he cannot retrieve the horse. Another time, Sion’s son falls and breaks his leg, forcing him to be on crutches for weeks. When the neighbors approach Sion about both of these misfortunes, he always responds in the same way “This could be a very good thing.” The townspeople think he is crazy for seeing these misfortunes as something positive–however, something positive does come out of both situations. When Sion’s lost horse returns, it brings with it several other strong and healthy wild horses that Sion can train and use. When his son breaks his leg it is during a war time and a draft has been issued for all young men. Sion’s son is not eligible and he avoids a brutal war. It is only after seeing all these events that Sion’s neighbors realize that maybe misfortune can be a blessing in disguise.
The artwork provided by Wang Ran provides a beautiful complement to this story. The backdrop of brown mountains and gray waters are punctuated with vibrant colors of green, blue, red, and purple in the clothing of the townspeople.
Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing
To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children over the age of four years. I would recommend this story for children who enjoy fables and tales, especially if they enjoy some sort of message from the story.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, anyone who works with children over the age of four years.
Where would you shelve it? Picture Book
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, great for a story time for older children because it allows for some discussion.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.
Date of review: May 21, 2020