Cover image for The hunter : a Chinese folktale
The hunter : a Chinese folktale
Casanova, Mary.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Atheneum Books for Young Reader, [2000]

Physical Description:
36 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
After learning to understand the language of animals, Hai Li Bu the hunter sacrifices himself to save his village.
Reading Level:
AD 590 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.3 0.5 44109.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.1 2 Quiz: 22629 Guided reading level: P.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.1.C22783 HU 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.1.C22783 HU 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PZ8.1.C22783 HU 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales

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Hai Li Bu is a good hunter, but not even he can find enough food for his village when the drought comes. The people grow thin and weak, the children rarely laugh -- but worst of all, they begin to argue and stop listening to one another.
Out on a hunt one day, Hai Li Bu saves a small snake from the beak of a crane. He is surprised to learn that he has rescued the daughter of the Dragon King of the Sea. The Dragon King offers Hai Li Bu the reward of his choice. Hai Li Bu asks only to know the language of animals. Then he can be a better hunter for his village. His wish is granted with a provision: He must never reveal the secret of his gift to anyone.
Hai Li Bu's people are saved from famine, but when he hears from the animals that a flood is coming that will destroy everything in his village, the people do not listen to him. "You ask us to leave our homes. How can we know what you say is true?" a village elder asks him. Now Hai Li Bu is faced with a terrible choice: to let the people of his village die in the flood or to reveal his secret, knowing the dire consequences for himself.
Caldecott Medal and Honor-winner Ed Young's magnificent illustrations bring this poignant traditional folktale to life.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-8. In a Chinese village, a drought scorches the countryside and starves the people. Hai Li Bu, a hunter, tries to find food. One day, he saves a small snake from a crane, and in return the snake brings him to the bottom of the sea, where the snake's father, the Dragon King of the Sea, lives. The Dragon King offers rubies and emeralds as a reward, but Hai Li Bu wants only to understand the language of animals so that he can be a better hunter and feed his village. The Dragon King grants the request on the condition that there will never be a whisper of what has transpired. This agreement works until Hai Li Bu overhears the birds and animals chattering about a huge flood that will destroy the village. The hunter tries to warn the people, but they don't believe. Hai Li Bu finally realizes that to save the villagers he must tell them how he knows about the flood. Heroically, he recounts the whole story--as he slowly turns to stone. Casanova, who lists several sources for the story, tells the tale in a dignified yet moving way that is complemented by the stark artwork. Arid-looking, dun-colored paper is the background for Young's masterful brush strokes, which evoke the spirit of each spread. Fingers of color represent the quixotic climate that can burn or soak. With never a wasted line, Young brings to life the hunter, who in the final spread becomes one with the rocky landscape. And in the corner of each page is a bright red box with Chinese calligraphy that proclaims the essence of the tale: "suffer drought," "downpour," "trust." --Ilene Cooper

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Hai Li Bu, a hunter from a drought-stricken village in mythic China, rescues a small pearly snake from the beak of a crane. The snake tells the young man that she is the daughter of the Dragon King of the Sea, and takes him to visit her father's undersea palace. When the Dragon King tries to reward him with fabulous jewels, Hai Li Bu asks only to understand the language of animals, so that he may provide more food for the starving inhabitants of his village. The Dragon King complies, but on the condition that Hai Li Bu must not reveal his secret, or he will turn to stone. Hai Li Bu restores his famished community to health, but when the animals warn him of an approaching flood, the hunter cannot convince the villagers to leave their homes without exposing his source of information. The tale of his sacrifice is well told in measured, poetic prose, unified by repeating word patterns. Young's spare calligraphic illustrations, ink against a muted golden-brown background that recalls old silk, are more suggestive than representational. Pastels add touches of color to art steeped in the tradition of Chinese brush painting. While sophisticated, the artwork is accessible and perfectly suited to the tale. A red seal appears in the corner of each double-page spread. The ancient characters within each one, all translated below the source note, comment on the story while reminding readers of its original language. A handsome addition to any folktale collection.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.