A Thousand Peaks, Poems from China

Some Reviews of AThousand Peaks:

A Thousand Peaks: Poems from China by Siyu Liu and Orel Protopopescu, illus. by Siyu Liu, is not your average poetry collection. Within the three sections organized under headings such as "Social Structure" each poem amplifies the theme, and informative text below often includes a brief bio of the poet. For instance, in the first section, "Pity the Farmer," describing the peasant work ethic, is paired with "Passing Huaqing Palace," the emperor's home from which "a concubine smiles" both written during the Tang dynasty. In the center of the spread, the literal translation appears below traditional Chinese characters. Resource listings and a guide to Chinese language pronunciation are included. A delicate watercolor scene opens each section.
--Publisher’s Weekly

Grade 5 & Up--An authentic introduction to Chinese poetry and culture. Each of the 35 poems, selected from two millennia of Chinese literature and translated into graceful English verse, is placed on its own page in a handsome, open design. Several prose paragraphs offer cultural context for each selection, while a sidebar displays the poem in its original characters, adding their pinyin transliterations and a literal English translation. Small black-and-white drawings that highlight a relevant character complete the page. Different English translators of compressed, allusive classical Chinese have interpreted these well-known poems in various ways. This unique collection invites readers to get into the act by comparing the Chinese original with this version, and perhaps exercising their own poetic skills in an attempt to understand another culture. Introductions to the three thematic sections explain social structure, scholar-officials, and love of nature. A concise, cogent introduction to Chinese poetry begins the collection and an author's afterword explains the translation process. The five full-page color paintings, literal renderings of Chinese-style art, are pleasant enough, though not as distinguished as Jean and Mou-sien Tseng's art for Minfong Ho's Maples in the Mist (Lothrop, 1996). Ho translated a couple of the same poems, but her collection, limited to famous poems from the Tang Dynasty, was aimed at younger children. This new volume spans the years between the third century Han Dynasty and the Communist era, and features many female poets. It's about as close to Chinese literature as young English-speaking readers can get.
--Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams (School Library Journal)

Selected Works

iPad App, Poetry
"A Word's a Bird slows down the frantic speed of most apps for children to fit the slower pace of Nature. The beauty of the illustrations, the meticulous work of the artists, and the interactive play combine to make a wondrous learning experience, a terrific way to expose children to poetry, art and Nature itself."
--Billy Collins, Poet Laureate
of the United States from 2001-2003

"A truly enchanting and poetic journey, this application is a treat for the eyes and ears..."
-- iPadou

“In perhaps the app’s most engaging feature, tapping out any melody on the lilies causes the ducklings to mimic it.”
--Kirkus Reviews
Picture book (ages 4-7)
"Replete with scat-y, cat-and-mouse–y wordplay, this is giggle-worthy fun."
--Kirkus Reviews
"The hip rhythms and tongue-twisting humor in this jazzy, poetic, fun-to-read-aloud book make it a keeper your child will want to read over and over again."
--Cricket Magazine online
— “Getting the beat and the tongue-twisting phrases just right takes some practice, but the outcome is well worth the effort.”
— "Children will cheer for this rascally oddball rebel."

Thelonious Mouse got his name from the great American jazz composer and pianist, Thelonious Monk. This jazzy mouse risks his tail and more to fierce Fat Cat, because Thelonious has “too much music in him to stuff into a mouse hole.” Yet beneath the sometimes scary hilarity, young readers discover a vital message: It takes courage to be all we can be.

Thelonious Monk showed that creative courage all his life, persevering with his unique style of music when others called him “eccentric.” He was also a devoted family man, who composed songs for his son and daughter.
Orel Protopopescu is a poet of lyrical mastery and ease—and this, her initial volume of verse!
--Vince Clemente
Poetry and history (grades 5 and up)
Thirty-five poems, from the Han dynasty to the modern era, in English and Chinese. “It's about as close to Chinese literature as young English-speaking readers can get.”
--School Library Journal

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