Cover image for Da Wei's treasure : a Chinese tale
Da Wei's treasure : a Chinese tale
Chang, Margaret Scrogin.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, [1999]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 25 cm
In this retelling of a traditional Chinese tale, a boy finds a treasure in an unexpected place.
Reading Level:
AD 710 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.9 0.5 46135.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.1 2 Quiz: 17727 Guided reading level: M.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.1.C3584 DAW 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area

On Order



Da Wei and his father were poor tenant farmers whose landlord, the local Magistrate, was a hard, greedy man. Da Wei's father had only one thing to leave Da Wei when he died -- a large rock taken from the ocean, given to him by a lonely old fisherman with the promise that one day, a light would shine from the rock and show the way to treasures beneath the sea. And one day, the light "did" blaze forth. After the crops were harvested, Da Wei went to visit the seaside village where the old fisherman had lived. Miraculously, the sea opened a path for him to follow. Bravely, he walked between walls of water until he came to a splendid mansion.

The only treasure he found there was a small orange kitten that seemed to like him, so he took it back to his farm. Every day, all day long, he worked his land, but before long, he began to find that his evening meal was ready for him to cook when he returned. Yet no one had been there. The kitten was always sitting contentedly on the windowsill.

How Da Wei discovered the kitten's secret, found a lovely bride for himself, and was able to thwart his corrupt landlord make an enchanting story fu

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-9. This heartwarming story is based on a tale told by Raymond Chang's mother in Shanghai. Da Wei lives with his father in northern China, where the land is harsh and the magistrate demands much of their harvest. They treasure a rock that looks like a miniature mountain with a tiny house on top. Just before Da Wei's father dies, he tells his son to look for a light from the house. One night, a tiny cart rolls out of the house, and by morning, it is large enough to use. Da Wei takes the cart to the sea, where it trundles down to the waterline. He follows it, the waters part, and he is led to a grand house, where he dines, accompanied only by an orange kitten. When he leaves, he takes the kitten, who, he soon discovers, is an enchanted lady. They marry, and her embroidery skills bring them riches and the wrath of the magistrate, from whom Da Wei's wife rescues him with the help of a paper tiger. The text faces full-page oils, whose lusciously thick colors and strong shapes echo Monet's impressionism and chinoiserie. --GraceAnne A. DeCandido

Publisher's Weekly Review

This unusual folktale set in northern China blends elements of The Crane Wife with magic, mystery and romance into a quietly uplifting story. When Da Wei's peasant father dies, he bequeaths to the boy his only valuable possession: a mountain-shaped rock with a miniature house perched at its crest, given to him by a fisherman. One day a cart descends from the rock's peak, grows in size and ultimately leads the boy to the seaside village where his father met the fisherman. There the ocean magically parts, revealing a path to a mansion. Hosted and fed sumptuously in the mansion by an orange kitten, Da Wei takes the feline home with him. Soon meals mysteriously appear on his table, and Da Wei sneaks back from the fields early one afternoon to discover the source of his good fortune. He spies a beautiful young woman, Lian Di, and a fairy tale ending follows. The Changs' (The Beggar's Magic) eloquent retelling weaves together familiar strands of classic tales into a fresh story that brings home the theme of goodness rewarded. While the characters of McElrath-Eslick's (Does God Know How to Tie Shoes?) oil paintings look somewhat inconsistent, a close-up of Da Wei at the moment when his father's gift begins its supernatural transformation and a view of the boy reaching the seaside village are standouts. Ages 5-9. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4When a poor farmer dies, he leaves his son, Da Wei, a rock that is the key to an unknown treasure. Through a series of mysterious events connected to the magic of the fathers gift, the young man marries and becomes a successful farmer. Angry that Da Wei no longer needs to lease land from him, the local Magistrate takes him to court on false charges. Once again, magic comes to the aid of the protagonist, who is then able to live the rest of his life surrounded by his family, treasures beyond his greatest hopes. The authors could find no printed source for the complete tale, although they did find sources for separate elements of it, and believe that Raymond Changs mother may have combined these elements into her own tale. The narrative is long and involved but never ceases to be intriguing and it rings emotionally true. The warm-hued oil paintings on the right side of each two-page spread face text on yellow pages framed by corner designs. The paintings, done with thick brush strokes, carry the mood of the story and illustrate the passing years by showing a slightly older Da Wei in each picture. An original and skillful contribution to any picture-book folktale collection.Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.