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by Laurence Yep

illustrated by Jean and Mou-Sien Tseng



Yep (The Boy Who Swallowed Snakes, 1994, etc.) extends his series of picture-book retellings of Asian folktales with this Mongolian story of a poor young shepherd who wins the hand of the Khan’s daughter through dumb luck and the smitten maiden’s collusion. As is usual in such stories, there are three impossible tasks to be accomplished before the hero, Móngke, may wed lovely Borte. He vanquishes seven gruesome demons, frightens off an enemy army, and, in a trial suggested by Borte, “conquers” Bagatur the Clever and Mighty (actually his bride-to-be disguised as a warrior) by surrendering the instant he is endangered. The high-spirited story is ideal–barring a few awkward phrases–for reading aloud. The Tsengs’ vibrant watercolors bring the windswept Mongolian steppes and the proud luxury of the Khan’s court vividly to the page. The jacket art is especially striking: A montage of acrylic on gold leaf shows Borte in a bejeweled headdress, Móngke astride his sturdy pony at full gallop, and the wind-whipped banners and embroidered felt tents of the Khan’s realm. (Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 1997)


1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, Ages 0-8, Folklore, Kindergarten