Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Three monks, no water

Ye, Ting-xing. Three monks, no water, Toronto: Annick, 1997.
This is a picture book for children aged from 9-12 regarding a familiar Chinese folktale. It has a well-know Chinese proverb, “One boy is a boy, two boys  half boy, three boys no boy.”
This Chinese folktale is set a long time ago in a remote mountain temple, a Buddhist monk who lives alone has to travel a long way to the nearest stream to fill and carry two buckets of water for drinking every day. One day, when a second monk joins this temple, this hard job turns easy and is done efficiently. They share the task and carry the water together. But soon, after the arrival of a third monk into this temple, they start to pass the buck, and no one is willing to go for the water and because of this the temple suffers a drought. Then one night one monk carelessly sets the temple on fire, the monks have to negotiate and scramble to carry water to put out the fire. The story is telling people how individuals need to establish rules to avoid members shirking group responsibilities. This book is composed of very beautiful acrylic and colored pencil illustrations, on a textured golden background. It is recommend that every child read this book.

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