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The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale by…

The Runaway Wok: A Chinese New Year Tale

by Ying Chang Compestine

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Summary: This children's book is about a child, Ming, who goes to the market to find food but comes back with a wok. The wok has a mind of its own and they soon realize its magic! The poor family now has this wok that can magically make them a feast for dinner!

I really enjoyed reading this children's book. The author helps the reader get a little better understanding of the Chinese culture. Even though this book has a lot of fantasy elements within it, it gives you a look into the culture side of things. ( )
  mnorth2 | Oct 8, 2014 |
There are two reasons why I liked the book “The Runaway Wok” by Ying Chang Compestine. First, while the book is considered modern fantasy because of the magical wok, the characters are believable and well developed. Ming, the young boy of a poor family goes to a market to trade eggs for rice but instead brings home a magical wok who ends up bringing them an abundance of food from a greedy rich mans house. While this scenario is impossible, the struggle the poor family goes through is real. Second, since this book shows the difference between rich and poor, readers are able to think about people less fortunate and why generosity is important. The big idea of this book revolves around generosity and giving. ( )
  rschin1 | May 11, 2014 |
I enjoyed reading this book for several reasons. First, it was a picture book centered on the traditions of the Chinese New Year. It wasn’t necessarily an informational book; however, it portrayed the stories behind all of the traditions that surround this celebrated holiday in story format. The illustrations were extremely colorful and detailed and showed a lot about the Chinese culture and the story plot. This book is perfect for readers who are not as familiar with the Chinese New Year because not a lot of unfamiliar language is used and the plot is universally relatable. This is because it is about a family who is poor and needs food and resources to share with their family and friends. This could apply to many situations, although it is meant to specifically highlight the Chinese culture. Finally, after the story ends, the author provides a note about the Chinese culture and how the themes of the holiday include sharing and getting together with family and friends. Additionally, there is a recipe for how to make stir-fried rice, which is a great way to end the book by giving readers a task to do if they want to extend their engagement with the story. The purpose of this story was to highlight the meaning of the Chinese New Year by giving background context. ( )
  Sulick1 | May 11, 2014 |
I used this book in celebration of Chinese New Year. It is a great tale about a beat up wok that takes things from the mean rich family--food, toys, and money--and brings them to the poor family who is appreciative and willing to share. The wok also makes handy work of the mean family at the end. The pictures are vivid and carry the energy of the story.

Illustrator: Sebastia Serra ( )
  emtimmins | Mar 18, 2014 |
The Runaway Wok is a compilation of several classic fairytales. The story begins with a Jack-and-the-Beanstalk-esque tale of Ming, who is sent to trade eggs for rice in the market, and comes home with a rusty wok instead. The bulk of the rest of the story follows the traditional Robin Hood pattern, as the wok jumps from rich home to poor home, stealing from the needy to give to the greedy. When the "greedy" finally catch up to the wok, it commences to lead them on a Gingerbread-Man-like goose chase. The "evil" rich are led away from the town, and Ming and his family are left to live happily ever after with their stolen riches.

I loved this book! It was silly and funny and entertaining, and the pictures were beautiful. The story flowed effortlessly through the various fairytales, blending modern and traditional. I used this book for my read aloud, and the kids really loved it, and responded to it really well.

1. Have kids make a collage of things they would want the wok to bring them.
2. Have kids break up into groups and act out different parts of the story, to incorporate movement and the dramatic arts into the classroom.
  JenniferSaville | Feb 12, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0525420681, Hardcover)

When a boy goes to the market to buy food and comes home with an old wok instead, his parents wonder what they'll eat for dinner. But then the wok rolls out of the poor family's house with a skippity-hoppity-ho! and returns from the rich man's home with a feast in tow!

With spirited text and lively illustrations, this story reminds readers about the importance of generosity.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:29 -0400)

On Chinese New Year's Eve, a poor man who works for the richest businessman in Beijing sends his son to market to trade their last few eggs for a bag of rice, but instead he brings home an empty--but magic--wok that changes their fortunes forever. Includes information about Chinese New Year and a recipe for fried rice.… (more)

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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