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Mei Li by Thomas Handforth. Caldecott award winning book.

Originally published by Doubleday & Company in 1938... this is a slightly later edition.



48 pages / 7.5 x 10.2 x .3 inches / 19.2 x 25.9 x .8 centimeters


Please see the images above for an accurate representation of what the book looks like, but...

Some wear to the dust jacket - rips / tears / fading. A scribble mark.

Sticker on front endpapers.


Three lucky pennies and three lucky marbles--one lapis blue, one coral red and one jade green--surely that would be treasure enough to get to the New Year Fair in the city. And so Mei Li, a little Chinese girl with a candle-top pig-tail, whose name is pronounced as easily as though it were spelled May Lee, took her lucky treasures and went to the New Year Fair with her brother, San Yu.

Igo, the small white dog, and San Yu's thrush go along and share in Mei Li's enchanting adventures with the animated circus performers, the trick bear, the good luck bell under the Bridge of Wealth, and in the good fortune that Mei Li's coral-red marble buys from the fortune-telling priest.

And finally, in the evening light they race through the darkening streets to leave the city and reach home in time to greet the Kitchen God at midnight.

The city is Peiping where Thomas Handforth, the distinguished artist, has been living since he went there on a Guggenheim Fellowship for study in the Far East in 1931. Handforth's etchings and lithographs are included in collections in the Metropolitan Museum and many other art museums--and his Chinese and Mongolian lithographs attracted widespread attention when they were shown in this country.

And we feel it was a felicitous moment for children's books when Mr. Handforth succumbed to the charms of the real Mei Li, a little girl living in the next compound in Peiping, and wrote and illustrated a story about her.

It took him more than two years--but the finished drawings with their rich lithographic quality form a fascinating introduction to the real China and one of the msot beautiful picture books for children this year or in many years. It is a book which has a universal appeal at this time because of the ever-growing interest in China and her people--and we feel that not only children but grown-ups, too, will respond to the charm of Mei Li and her friends.

Mei Li by Thomas Handforth


  • Vintage item from the 1930s
  • Material: book
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 421 reviews