Work Title: Su Dongpo: Chinese Genius
Work Author(s): Demi
Lee & Low Books
Color illustrations, 56 pages, Hardcover $24.00
Children's Picture Book
Reviewer: Linda Salisbury
If children need a new superhero, they should skip Hollywood's fictitious offerings and learn about China's real Su Dongpo. "He was the best," concludes the author.
Demi builds her case by sharing the quality of the man, not just his achievements. Her respect for her hero 1036--1101) is portrayed in her descriptions of his leadership style: "Just as [his] writing followed the laws of nature, so did his rulings, which were just and as brilliant as the sun." She seasons the text with quotes from his lyrical poems and from the Chinese Book of Wisdom.
During his remarkable life, Su Dongpo was a statesman, philosopher, poet, painter, engineer, architect, and humanitarian, scholar, judge, and advisor to rulers. He started China's first public hospital, developed the first sanitation system, and enacted reforms. A noted poet from an early age, he wrote some works about nature, but got in trouble for his poetry about social conditions and corruption, leading to his persecution and exile. Despite his deportation, he remained a...