Cover image for Ling Cho and his three friends
Ling Cho and his three friends
Pacilio, V. J.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, [2000]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Through his plan to share the wealth of his wheat crop with three friends, a Chinese farmer teaches the importance of allowing other people to help in time of need.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 5.8 0.5 36434.
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.3.P1195 LI 2000 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A tale of wisdom, ebulliently illustrated Long concerned for the three poor neighboring farmers who refuse to accept charity, the prosperous Ling Cho decides to ask their help in selling some of his wheat. They gladly agree and depart for the marketplace with one wagonload each. When the time comes for them to bring Ling Cho his portion of their earnings, none of the farmers has anything for him but a story. Ling Cho listens to each neighbor's excuse and then demonstrates wisdom in his response that will remain with readers long after the book is closed. His message: that true friends allow themselves to be helped. Carefully rhymed couplets and golden, animated paintings make this story both funny and deeply meaningful.

Author Notes

V. J. Pacilio lives in Wilmette, Illinois. This is his first book. Scott Cook has illustrated many books, including Nancy Van Laan's With a Whoop and a Holler. He lives on Cape Cod.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 6^-8. Joyously madcap illustrations buoy this clever picture book for older readers, an original rhymed tale of a prosperous Chinese farmer who shares his bounty with poorer neighbors without injuring their pride. Ling Cho offers to split proceeds of a harvest with Ben Lo, Tsung Tae, and Quan Jen if they will each take a wagon of wheat to sell in town. Ben Lo returns with a tale of a wheat-eating monster; Tsung Tae claims to have lost Ling Cho's share of the money; and Quan Jen uses the wheat to feed his family. With exuberant brushwork, Cook depicts laughing, industrious characters against swirling, impressionistic backgrounds, capturing both broad gestures and subtle postures with equal facility. After ruminating, Ling Cho apologizes to Ben Lo and Tsung Tae for putting them in the way of misfortune, then announces to Quan Jen that he must pay his "debt" by helping with future harvests--and taking two wagons of wheat for his family. Literal-minded readers may be momentarily confused, but there are visual cues to what's really going on. --John Peters

Publisher's Weekly Review

Forced rhyming couplets relate this overlong story of a farmer who teaches his friends the importance of asking for help in times of need. Ling Cho comes up with a plan to help three of his less prosperous neighbors: each will drive a wagonload of Ling Cho's surplus wheat to market and receive half of the profits. But all three neighbors return empty-handed. Ben Lo and Tsung Tae concoct fanciful stories; only Quan Jen admits that he took the wheat to feed his hungry family. Supposedly "wise and kindly," Ling Cho comes across as condescending. He subtly but clearly punishes the first two, then lectures the truthful Quan Jen ("Through these many years of need, until this very day,/ Not once did you allow your friends to help in any way") before drafting him for a permanent job. While Cook's (With a Whoop and a Holler) jaunty illustrations add a touch of humor, they draw more on Western conceptions of a quaint "Orient" than on a real historical China. Then again, there is little if anything in first-time author Pacilio's tale to account for its Chinese setting. Ages 5-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-Despite its elements of creativity, this story of true friendship suffers from a tedious poetic narrative that detracts immeasurably from its presentation and its message. Ling Cho, a prosperous Chinese farmer, has three friends who have inherited farms with soil so poor that they can barely grow enough to feed their families. In one particular year of abundance, he decides to help them by allowing them to sell his surplus wheat and split the profit with him. All three men return empty-handed, but only one is honest about his family's need for the wheat, and Ling Cho rewards him with a business proposition that will ensure that the man's family will never go hungry again. The lesson: "A man who will allow his friends to help in time of need/Is-more than even he who gives-a valued friend, indeed." An even greater lesson relating to honesty is implied in the conclusion, but never mentioned. The author's use of rhymed couplets results in a forced wordiness that makes it difficult to concentrate on the plot-especially on the telling of the friends' tales of woe and on the story's conclusion. The droll personalities of the four main characters shown in Cook's imaginative, richly textured, earth-toned paintings are, unfortunately, not mirrored in the text. There are many better stories about friendship.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.