The Warlord's Fish
Virginia Walton Pilegard
Illustrations by Nicolas Debon
Picture Book (Series)
Pelican Publishing, 2002, 1-56554-964-3
Chuan is the artist's apprentice and there are many things he still has to learn from his master. One of these things is how to make the wooden fish which, when placed in a bowl of water, always points its face to the south. Little does the boy or his master know how valuable their little wooden fish is going to be in the very near future.
Their troubles begin when a group of foreigners comes to the warlord's palace complaining that they have been cheated by merchants in the market. Unfortunately the warlord is away and cannot settle the argument so the foreign traders decide to take Chuan and his master with them as slaves to sell.
For many days the traders travel through the desert and then they run into trouble - they get lost. The leader of the traders threatens to kill Chuan's master if he cannot tell them where the "last oasis" is. Of course the artist has no idea where they are and how to get to the oasis. Luckily his apprentice has an idea. All he needs is a bowl of water and his little wooden fish.
Warm and magical artwork captures the wonderful exotic flavour of Chuan's world with its walled cities and wide open deserts, camel caravans and oasis. The pictures compliment the spare yet atmospheric text and together they create a mood of adventure.
At the back of the book the author explains why Chuan's little fish worked and how to make a little fish of your own.
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