Ruowen Wang, illustrated by Wei Xu,
Eenie Meenie Minie Moe
Kevin & Robin Books, 2007.
Kevin and Robin’s Uncle is visiting from China. His witty and entertaining stories ensure his popularity with the children. Jokingly one day he begins with Eenie Meenie Minie Moe, a familiar rhyme which the children recite by heart. Not being too fluent in English, the Uncle soon decides to tell an ancient Chinese tale, The Three Monks. In this simple fable, three monks learn to live cooperatively together in a small mountain-top temple, sharing their duties and responsibilities.
Why this story, ask the children, and what is the connection to their favourite rhyme? Their Uncle quickly leads them to their messy room, reminding Kevin and Robin how they must cooperate to keep it neat.
This appealing story focuses on a multicultural approach, combining a popular North American rhyme, used by children to make a decision, and a Chinese fable, exemplifying responsibility and cooperation. One weakness in the story is the lack of connection between the catchy rhyme and the tale, which are only linked together in the final paragraph, when a decision is made by, of course, Eenie Meenie Minie Moe. The illustrations are bright, colourful, with a whimsical approach that should catch the interest of the young reader. As a fun read-aloud, this story should promote discussion comparing two cultures.
Thematic Links: Rhymes; Chinese Folktales; Multiculturalism
Vol. 13, number 1
E - Excellent, enduring, everyone should see it!
G - Good, even great at times, generally useful!
A - Average, all right, has its applications.
P - Problematic, puzzling, poorly presented.