10 May 2017 by Christina Barker
Title: Daughters of the Land God (Stories of animal sign series)
Author: Xue Lin
Reviewer: Christina Barker
The cover of the book to me seems quite mystical. Personally, I think it looks like the Land God statue is happily looking at the snake looking like he is about to cast a spell over the snake as he guards the incense burner. The snake looks interested in what the man is doing and comes over to take a look.
The entire book is written in both languages and so for that reason the text takes up a lot of one page. To even it out, the opposite side has the illustration which flows onto the second page where the text is. I noticed that certain words on each page have been highlighted in both languages so this draws you to those words. You will also find a lot of those words in the useful words at the back of the book.
I love the story of the snake (Little White) and the man (Fu De Chang) and how their relationship grew. Fu De Chang helped little white get away from the people in the village when a man from the village started telling lies that the snake had killed lots of people. The snake was never seen again. A temple was built in memory of Fu De Chang as the people in the village thought that he had made it safe from snakes. They called him the ‘Land God’. The snakes then got called the ‘Daughters of the Land God’ and this is where the story comes from.
This story gives people a great insight into what happened to Little White after he came 6th in the race.
Reviewer: Taylor Brooker
Daughters of the Land God is my personal favourite of the stories of animal signs. The illustrations in this book are some of my favourites from all the books, as they’re all so colourful and detailed, especially the pages where Little White is back in the jungle. You might think a snake can’t be cute, but Little White IS cute, and because of this, the audience sympathise with her throughout the book, and there are some sad moments which engage the reader. There’s something about this book that feels quite Disney-esque, because of the story, the animals, and the snake illustrations, and as someone who loves Disney, this is great!
Like with all the animal sign books, the text stands out on each page without taking over the illustrations, and having both English and Mandarin makes it accessible for both English and Mandarin speakers. It’s written simply enough that young children can understand the story and history, but written so beautifully that it’s accessible to anyone of any age wanting to learn more about Chinese legend or language. As someone who didn’t know much about Chinese legend before reading the animals signs stories, these books just keep teaching me new things, and Daughters of the Land God has really stuck in my head and got me interested in learning more!
Any successful picture book allows the text to be read without the imagery, and the imagery to be read and make sense without the text, which is exactly what Daughters of the Land God does. There’s also a good ratio of double-page spread illustrations to single page illustrations, which makes the whole book aesthetically pleasing and easy to read. If a picture book has too much of one or the other, it just isn’t as pleasing to the eye and can affect the way we read the imagery, so a good balance is key!
Look out for more reviews from Taylor and Christina soon!
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