Chinese Emperor’s New Clothes

Ages: 6 - 9Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers Author: Ying Chang CompestineIllustrator: David Roberts


In Ying Chang Compestine’s charming re-imagining of the familiar fable about a vain emperor taken in by scalawag tailors, a boy emperor in ancient China is in on the trick. Knowing that his controlling, high and mighty ministers are robbing the treasury and his people are going hungry, 9-year-old Emperor Ming Da and his loyal tailors convince the ministers that their new robes of itchy burlap are really made of bejeweled silks, and that only dishonest people would see otherwise. Illustrator David Roberts adds subtlety and drama with fine lines, beautiful patterns and colors. The book ends with a hands-on activity and a fascinating author’s note about Compestine’s background and inspiration: growing up in Communist China, she and her family risked harsh penalties to read banned works of literature, including one of her favorites: “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

Lynne Heffley ©2018 Parents’ Choice

A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper’s first weekly children’s arts and entertainment beat.

Available here