Book Review: Cixi The Dragon Empress

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Learning about the history of a people is really cool for kids. Check out my review of Cixi. She managed to topple an entire dynasty. For a chance to win all you have to do is:

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Offer expires 3/16/2012



Title:Cixi: The Dragon Empress
Author:Natasha Yim
Publisher:Goosebottom Books LLC
ISBN:978-0-9834256-5-6

Cixi was born in 1835 to a minor government official. Although her childhood was secretive she always felt she was treated differently than her three sisters. When she was a teenager her mother registered her to work at the palace. She could either be a servant or concubine. Cixi chose the latter. She was impressed with how the emperor lived and embraced the opportunity to escape her miserable childhood. As time went on Cixi moved up to Imperial Consort. She was considered to be one of the emperors highest ranking wives. It wouldn't be long that she would bear him a son.

When the emperor fell ill and hadn't yet named his heir, Cixi stepped in showing the emperor her son and demanded he be named. He did grant her request. The Chancellors didn't like it because they knew that since the child was under the age of 17 he would not be the actual ruler. Instead his mother would be able to dictate rules. Cixi took action to make sure her request stood fast. She banned one Chancellor and beheaded another. Cixi was strong willed, ambitious and easy to offend. She was a cruel woman and did whatever it took to rule.

As a woman in charge, Cixi made living around her unbearable. She was unpredictable and even brought harm to her sons wife. She considered her to be too much of an influence. Peasant uprising and a war with the west caused Cixi and her court to flee. By the time Cixi returned to Peking the Palace had been ransacked and looted. She had wanted to keep the West out of China. In the end, despite her efforts, the west had forced its way in. Cixi managed to crumble an entire dynasty.

Natasha Yim has done an excellent job of putting together this factual book. The history and behind the scenes look at a woman who crumbled an empire will have young readers turning the pages and looking up the history for themselves. Elegant illustrations depict what was worn, the hair styles and lifestyles of this time period. Throughout the book young readers will find facts and pictures that solidify Yims story of a dastardly dame.

Natasha Yim is the author of Otto's Rainy Day, published in 2000 by Charlesbridge Publishing, and selected as a Kids' Pick of the Lists. Her non-fiction article, “Dragons Race on Water,” appeared in the June 2010 issue of Highlights for Children magazine. She lives in Northern California with her family.

www.goosebottombooks.com




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