Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bound by Donna Jo Napoli

I recommend this book for: middle and high school

I tend to read most of Napoli's books - I always love the idea behind her retellings of fairy tales, even if I'm less than crazy about the product as a whole. I'd have to say this is my favorite of her novels at the moment. Ever since I first saw it in picture book format, I've loved the Chinese tale that is possibly the earliest Cinderella story - hence the preoccupation with small feet. This retelling is lovely. Xing Xing (pronounced "shing") is an orphan left in the care of her father's second wife. She does all the menial chores for her stepmother and her sister Wei Ping, who is in constant pain because her feet have been bound in an effort to shrink them so she can attract a good husband. There is no fairy godmother in this story - just a very beautiful carp which Xing Xing believes to be the reincarnated spirit of her mother. Napoli writes beautiful prose, as always, and the presence of the Wu family ghosts gives the story enough of a fairy tale sense about it that the unexpected behavior of the prince in the end makes sense. I also enjoyed the details about Ming dynasty culture that were almost always seemlessly woven into the story. Great for fans of historical fiction, China, or fairy tales.

Hey, they like it!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do u think this book is appropiate for an 11 year old?