HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Anno’s China
Author and Illustrator: Mitsumasa Anno
Publisher: Beautiful Feet Books, English edition 2016
Related website: http://www.bfbooks.com (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Anno, Mitsumasa. Anno’s China (originally published in 2009 by Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers Inc., Tokyo, Japan; English edition published in 2016 by Beautiful Feet Books, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401). Mitsumasa Anno (b. 1926) is a Japanese author and artist who has written and illustrated over twenty books for children. In the 1970s his books began appearing in the United States, but it has been about two decades since a new book by Anno (Anno’s Magic Seeds, 1995) last found its way to America. Anno’s China is basically a picture book with explanations and descriptions in the back of what the paintings show. Through these delightfully detailed watercolors, Anno takes readers up China’s Yellow River to explore this vast and varied land where calligraphers can bestow good fortune, birds do fishing for men, and dragons dance in New Year’s parades. Scenes include bustling villages where the streets are waterways and everyone, even horses and bulls, travel by boat; rivers on which flocks of ducks are herded; the Great Wall; and the discovery of thousands of Terracotta soldiers guarding the ancient tomb of China’s first emperor.
Anno, who won the Hans Christian Andersen Award for his lasting contribution to children’s literature, is a lover of travel and culture and is famous for his illustrated books which take readers through a variety of countries. Anno’s China, which is book VII in the series “Anno’s Journey,” was initially published in Japan in 2009 but has never been available to U. S. readers until now. Beautiful Feet Books, a literature-based homeschooling curriculum publisher, has just brought this title back into print. They plan to use this sixty page wordless journey through China in a new study of theirs available this coming summer. With his unique perspective on landscapes and the people who inhabit them, and his mischievous sense of humor, Anno has given the world books that educate, entertain, and delight by opening children across the world to cultures and lands distant from their own. Shirin Bridges, author of Ruby’s Wish, said, “Anno’s China is full of joy and wonder. Beautiful and evocative beyond words.” Anyone who is interested in China, or world travel generally, will enjoy this book.