Mu Lan is at her loom when she hears the Emperor's call to arms. She rides off to war in her father's stead, embarking on a journey of ten thousand miles that takes her away from home for ten years. Her courage and valor bring her to the Emperor's attention and to the Golden Court. When offered whatever she wishes as a reward, she asks only to go home. There she surprises her mother and father, sister and brother--but it is her comrades in arms who are most surprised of all. The Song of Mu Lan is closely translated from an ancient text and echoes the rhythms of Chinese, which is here faithfully reproduced in original calligraphy by Chan Bo Wan, the artist's father. Jeanne M. Lee has rendered the panorama of characters in silken watercolors, providing a lush counterpoint to the spare, elegant text.
The endpages of the book are interesting in that the ancient text from which the story is derived is reproduced. The reproduction is created by the original artist's father. On each page of the book is oriental text that also tells the story. A fun activity would be to have the children try their hand at drawing oriental letter characters.