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The Seeing Stick    by Jane Yolen & Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini order for
Seeing Stick
by Jane Yolen
Order:  USA  Can
Running Press, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Deb Kincaid

Despite the efforts of all the wise men from far-flung places of the Chinese empire, little Hwei Min, the Emperor's daughter, remains blind. An elderly man hears of the girl's plight and travels to the palace in Peking to assist her. Initially rebuffed by the guards, the man displays his carving skill, and the guards relent. The man gets his audience with The Emperor and Hwei Min.

The 1977 telling of this tale won author Jane Yolen the Christopher Medal, awarded to those who exemplify the 'highest values of the human spirit' through media. This 2009 edition of The Seeing Stick again uses the folktale style, but with a different illustrator, Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini.

Terrazzini's exquisitely detailed illustrations are rendered in various ways: some are shades of black and gray, some are muted colors, and there are some with colors juxtaposed for intensity. The colorless drawings reflect the bleakest of Hwei Min's days, and as hope intensifies, so does the richness of color. Nicely done.

As far as Yolen's narrative, I felt the vocabulary, sentence length, and mood of the story most appropriate for ages eight through eleven. The Seeing Stick is ostensibly a picture book (typically for four to eight-year-olds), but I doubt many children in that age range would sit still for the reading of this book. On the other hand, it could readily become an older child's favorite.

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