Shortly after his miraculous birth, made possible with help from the phoenix, Prince Ru-lan is captured by Su-ling, the evil enchantress, who plans to raise Ru-lan and use him to take over the kingdom. Several years later, the phoenix reminds the little boy of his real identity and he escapes from Su-ling’s cottage with the help of his animal friends. Once their son is firmly ensconced in the palace, the emperor and empress undertake a daring plot to forever rid the kingdom of the threat of the evil enchantress. This book subtly teaches values while introducing the reader to interesting aspects of Chinese culture and language.

My comments: This book is an engaging read for children in about grades 3-4. It would work for a read-aloud for younger children.  It reads very much like a fairy tale for the purpose of teaching cultural norms. The illustrations are outstanding and colorful. The themes include good versus evil; fantasy; loyalty; and beginnings. The story is very engaging and children love it! I recommend it for a primary-aged child’s library.

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