Reviews

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

PreS-Gr 4-- A Chinese folktale with a perfect blend of humor and wisdom. One spring morning, Mr. Haktak, a poor farmer, unearths a brass pot in his garden. Placing his coin purse inside for safekeeping, he carries his discovery home to his wife. After she accidently drops her hairpin inside, Mrs. Haktak reaches into the pot and, to her amazement, pulls out two identical hairpins and two matching coin purses. Quickly deducing the magic secret, husband and wife work feverishly to duplicate their few coins, creating enough gold to fill their hut. The happy couple believes their luck has finally changed for the better--until Mrs. Haktak falls head first into the pot. Using lively yet straightforward language, Hong tells this story with an engagingly playful tone. Never ready to despair, the quick-thinking woman takes charge and imaginatively solves each problem, rapidly moving the plot to a fitting resolution. The airbrushed acrylic and gouache illustrations feature a variety of circular shapes; rounded heads, cheeks, and hats reflect the image of the pot. Painted in matte tones and outlined with darker colors, the pictures are set against a simple background appropriate to life in humble surroundings. A whimsical mix of fortune and misfortune with a distinctly Chinese flavor. --Joy Fleishhacker, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Ages 5-8. When elderly Mr. Haktak digs up a brass pot in his garden, he takes it home to Mrs. Haktak, who discovers its magical property: everything that goes into the pot comes out double. After a long night of duplicating coins and rejoicing in their good fortune, Mrs. Haktak leans over the pot and tumbles into it, emerging with her double. In the confusion, Mr. Haktak trips and falls into the pot as well. Their amicable solution to the inconvenience of having doubles will make perfect sense to young children. There's a pleasing wholeness about this book that's characteristic of the best picture books; the text and illustrations combine seamlessly to present a total story. Hong, who also retold and illustrated How the Ox Star Fell from Heaven [BKL Ap 1 91], here paints with muted colors, defining rounded forms with broad outlines. Retold with verve and gentle humor, this Chinese folktale could become a read-aloud favorite. ~--Carolyn Phelan


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

As she did in How the Ox Star Fell from Heaven , this talented author-illustrator here distills a Chinese folktale with style and humor. Her lucid narrative is coupled with beguiling, full-page airbrushed acrylic and gouache pictures that display a distinctive palette highlighted by sumptuous blues and greens. Digging in his garden, a poor farmer discovers an ancient brass pot. While carrying his find home, the man drops his purse, which he then tosses into the pot for safekeeping. At home, when his wife peers into the vessel she finds not one but two purses. The couple puts the magic pot to work, multiplying their remaining gold coins many times over. But their good fortune takes an unexpected turn when Mr. and Mrs. Haktak both manage to fall into the pot, and a clone of each of them appears. ``Now even our troubles are beginning to double,'' the farmer observes wryly. How they make peace with their new lives will have youngsters, if not doubled up with laughter, at least genuinely amused, and wanting to reread this yarn--at least twice. Ages 5-8. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved