3.5 stars. I read The Five Chinese Brothers to my niece and nephew last night. It's a book that my husband read as a child, and so I thought I'd give it a try on the kids.
The story is violent, I won't lie. A kid drowns and The First Chinese Brother in this story is held responsible for the kid's death. He's arrested, tried, and ancient Chinese justice is meted out to this brother (i.e., he's sentenced to death, and the method in which that sentence is to be carried out is grisly). Hijinks ensue, and basically children are treated to a story in which the five Chinese Brothers thwart four grusome attempts to carry out the death sentence. Yeah, it's lovely bedtime fare.
BUT, although violent, and kind of repetitious, the story is good. My niece especially thought this book was great--she kind of liked the shock value, and she liked trying to figure out how the brothers were going to get around this punishment. My nepehw was drawn in to the story and he certainly listened, but when we finished reading it he was, "still trying to decide" if he liked the story or not. It's probably a little much for little kids--we just balanced this out by reading [b:Dragons Love Tacos|13337050|Dragons Love Tacos|Adam Rubin|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1326100121s/13337050.jpg|18545277] again. The illustrations aren't all that attractive, but the kids didn't really seem put off by them. I think that they kind of liked the fact that this story was not warm and fuzzy, and I think that made the story all that more interesting and intriguing for them. Still, it's not one that I'll probably read to them again any time soon, and certainly not before bed.UPDATE:
After discussing this book with my friend Brandy
, I realize that I don't think this book warrants a 3.5 star rating! The violence was intense, the illustrations were unattractive on multiple levels, the story could be interpreted as having racist undertones, and it centers on the brothers evading justice. Thank you for talking to me about this book, Brandy! It really helped me do a better job of evaluating this book!