Parents' Guide to

The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes

By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Clever twist on classic tale adds dimension and great art.

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This twist on a classic has a new setting, more dimension, and wonderful art to draw kids into the story. The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes does more than expose a ruler's vanity and his people's urge to go along with whatever he says, despite what they see with their own eyes. Here, the boy ruler is honest, caring, and intent on exposing his corrupt ministers. As author Ying Chang Compestine explains in a poignant, informative author's note, she knows a thing or two about corrupt ministers, having grown up in China during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Western literature, including fairy tales, was banned, and she had to hide her copy of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Emperor's New Clothes" from the authorities. "Like the boy emperor, I always searched for ways to outsmart the officials."

David Roberts' stunning art adds significantly to the storytelling, with colorful full-page scenes and dazzling two-page spreads, especially the one showing the huddled ministers framed by the Lunar New Year parade's dragon dancers moments before a boy calls them out and the children roar with laughter on the following spread.

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