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The Magical Starfruit Tree

A Chinese Folktale

Illustrated by Shao Wei Liu
Published by Beyond Words
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

An impecunious boy's act of kindness to an old beggar bears a magical tree of starfruit for all the hungry Chinese villagers, except a miserly peddler who gets his comeuppance for his past stinginess.

The Magical Starfruit Tree tells the story of a greedy peddler, Ah-Di, a kindhearted young boy, Ming-Ming, and an old beggar on a hot day. In spite of the heat and the old man's apparent thirst, the miserly peddler refuses to give him a juicy starfruit. Although he has little, Ming-Ming offers to buy a piece of fruit for the old man. The beggar gratefully accepts and eats the fruit, saving only one seed. Calling for someone to bring him a pot of hot water, he plants the seed. The old man uses his magic to make the seed grow, blossom, and bear fruit, all before the eyes of the bewildered crowd. In the end there is enough fruit for everyone, the peddler is chastised for his greedy ways and Ming-Ming is rewarded for his generosity.

Retold and illustrated by a Chinese author and Chinese artist, The Magical Starfruit Tree is a traditional story that teaches values to children through example. It also touches on one of the main tenets of the Chinese culture, which is to honor your elders and treat them with respect.

The old man uses his magic to make the seed grow, blossom, and bear fruit, all before the eyes of the bewildered crowd. In the end there is enough fruit for everyone, the peddler is chastised for his greedy ways, and Ming-Ming is rewarded for his generosity.

The Magical Starfruit Tree teaches children the virtue of sharing and introduces the concept of respect for the elderly, which are corner-stones of Chinese philosophy and all-too-often overlooked in American culture.

About The Author

Rosalind Wang was born in China, grew up in Taiwan, and currently resides in Vancouver, Washington. While she was working as a public librarian in Vancouver, Wang was frustrated that she was unable to find any Chinese folktales for her storytelling hour. Eventually, finding none, Wang decided to write them herself. The Magical Starfruit Tree, her second book based on a traditional Chinese tale, follows The Fourth Question, published in 1991. Wang is an education librarian at Portland State University.

About The Illustrator

Shao Wei Liu was born in Hangzhou, China, and came to the United States in 1982. She graduated with BFA and MFA degrees in Fine Arts from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. Her art has been published in The Chinese New Year's Dragon (Modern Curriculum Press, 1992), and in magazines and on greeting cards. Liu lives in San Jose, California, with her two children.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Beyond Words (February 1, 1994)
  • Length: 32 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780941831895
  • Ages: 4 - 8

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Raves and Reviews

The tale is satisfying, and the full-color paintings effectively illustrate the book. Recommended for libraries seeking picture-book versions of traditional Chinese stories.

– —Carolyn Phelan, Booklist

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