I LOVED this book because he was so so adventurous! He found a donkey and took care of the donkey until he found out that it was someone else’s donkey…
This is a great look into chinese culture and history as well as a fun adventure with positive moral messages. My children ages 2, 6, and 8 thoroughly enjoyed listening to this on audible.
The boy was funny. What I learned was not to play with other peoples pets and not to take things that aren’t yours. A man was nice and shared with the little boy. (What my son thought about the book.)
I read this aloud to my oldest in kindergarten and first grade. They were fascinated by it! It led to so many discussions (what should you do if this happened to you? Why in this culture are boys treated differently? What is a pilgrimage and so we have anything similar in our beliefs?)
I was not a fan of this book for a few reasons. The main character is the only boy of 3 children. The second page talks about how the parents “let him sleep when he was lazy and gave in to him when he teased” and talks about how he is spoiled and favored amongst his sisters. This is not a message I want my girls reading when they have one brother. The boy goes off with a strange man to his home (like the number one thing I teach my kids not to do) and his only punishment is being sent home with a new toy. His sisters at the end are reminded “they belonged in the house with their mother.” It also mentions other “gods” like the kitchen god, etc, which I just skipped over because my kids aren’t old enough to understand other religions yet. This was our first library book purchase and it was disappointing.
One beautiful day, Ching Lai and his cousin are surprised to find a riderless black donkey coming down the path. Trying to look courageous to his cousin, Ching Lai climbs on the donkey’s back. Trying not to worry, Ching Lai does not dare get off. Ching Lai waits for the donkey to tire and stop, but it goes all day without stopping. Ching Lai soon finds himself far away from his mountain home and caught in a journey that takes him farther and farther away.
“This charming Chinese tale is the kind of worthy book I want my children reading. Books like this one help form strong hearts and minds. As children are taken to a beautiful land, they not only gain knowledge but are also exposed to beautiful writing and gentle messages.”—Jenny Phillips
*Please note: the characters in this book are Buddhist and their cultural and religious beliefs and rituals are present throughout.*
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