When her fisherman husband fails to come home after a storm at sea, the beautiful maiden Ling Yee is heartbroken. Every morning, she puts her baby on her back and clambers to the top of a cliff looking for any signs of his return. But day after day, she is disappointed. The villagers try to convince her to give up her vigil. “No,” she would say, “He will come home soon.” Tin Hau, the Goddess of the Heavens, takes pity on her grief and turns Ling Yee and her child into stone so that they would mourn no more. The fisherman eventually finds his way home―only to discover that his wife has been transformed into the Rock Maiden. Will the family forever be kept apart? Or will devotion and faithfulness ultimately be rewarded? Find out in this re-envisioning of an old Hong Kong legend by award-winning author Natasha Yim, featuring stunning illustrations by renowned Finnish artist Pirkko Vainio.
This book is based on the legend of Hong Kong's Amah Rock—a natural formation that looks like a woman and infant—but Yim gives the tale a satisfying and happy ending instead of leaving Ling Yee waiting in stone forever. The author's note about childhood lunches near the rock invites further exploration about Hong Kong. Vainio's soft watercolors evoke the Old World misty melancholy of the romantic story. VERDICT A gentle offering that's bound to appeal to fans of lesser-known folktales and fairy tales. A strong selection for folktale collections.—School LIbrary Journal, Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA
Natasha Yim returns with an endearing and elegant story in The Rock Maiden. Intrigued by the Amah Rock in Sha Tin, Hong Kong, Yim succeeds in transferring a sense of awe and wonder at the majesty of such a striking natural formation. She retells an ancient Chinese legend in an age appropriate manner, updates the ending, and presents a beautifully touching image of love and loyalty, thus making the book’s title exceptionally accurate.… This is a sweet story with a well-presented happy ending. The story matches perfectly with the dreamy and authentically appealing illustrations of award-winning Finnish artist Pirkko Vainio, making The Rock Maiden a charming and very satisfying read.” —New York Journal of Books