The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes
Ming Da is only nine years old when he becomes the emperor of China, and his three advisors take advantage of him by stealing his stores of rice, gold, and precious stones. But Ming Da has a plan. With the help of his tailors, he comes up with a clever idea to outsmart his devious advisors: He asks his tailors to make “magical” new clothes for him. Anyone who is honest, the young emperor explains, will see the clothes’ true splendor, but anyone who is dishonest will see only burlap sacks. The emperor dons a burlap sack, and the ministers can’t help but fall for his cunning trick.
Praise for The Chinese Emperor
“The hero of the original tale was a child … in this version, he’s the author of the plan and the focus of the action, and the story is the better for it.”
— Publishers Weekly
“… a satisfying conclusion…whimsical illustrations. Backmatter explains the author’s interest in folktales and Chinese traditions. There are also guidelines for making a Chinese New Year’s Parade Robe.”
“A clever retelling buttressed by a fascinating backstory and vivid art.”
— Kirkus Review
“A variant of an oft-told classic that is suitable for classroom and individual reading.”
— School Library Journal
“Elegant and satisfying story.”
— Wall Street Journal
“An appealing twist on a well-loved tale”
— The Guardian
“Traditional and modern sensibilities elevate this ‘real’ and relevant story about self-importance and truth…”
— The San Francisco Chronicle
“… classy, witty and clever retelling … an added bonus, children learn how to make their own Chinese New Year robe by decorating a white pillowcase or old T-shirt.”
— Lancashire Post
“…an engaging, universal morality tale presented in a fresh new cultural context. ”
— Common Sense Media
“This retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairy tale incorporates Compestine’s experiences of growing up in the Chinese Cultural Revolution to provide a thoughtful tale about corruption and poverty. David Roberts’ illustrations are lavish and full of his detailed eye for fashion and design.”
Rated among “the best new picture books.”
— the Children’s Book Reviews
“The results of honesty triumphing over dishonesty have a universal appeal.”
— The Center for Fiction
Awards & Accolades
After reading the book, students can hold a robe making competition!
Here are some samples from the students at Morrison Academy in Taiwan.
Stage your own play!
Children’s literature consultant Judy Freeman adapted The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes for Reader's Theatre, as part of her upcoming children’s literature handbook, The 2019 Winners! Handbook, available in May at BTSB.com. Have fun staging your own play!
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