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I've been training in martial arts for over a decade and now I have a toddler who wants to go to kung fu with mama. I have some quibbles with the writing (every characters wonders, explains, exclaims, wishes... but never plain says any dialogue) but the story is spot on with the messages of martial arts training--respect yourself and others, personal training path, persistence pays off--and the illustrations are great. Plus now that my kid has memorized most of it, it's more than worth the $$ to hear "A black belt is just a white that doesn't give up" coming out of his mouth!
I guess i should have figured this out from the title and description, but I hoped I would be able to gloss over the belts with my little ones... but the story is too tied into them (ha!). The colored belt system is not really a Chinese martial arts tradition, and traditional kung fu teachers do not deal in belts. Rather, the achievements are internalized by the student through their own satisfaction, confidence, ability, and knowledge of their body and the energy that flows through it. The quest for belts, to me, takes away from the spiritual and internal, meditative, self-awareness aspects of kung fu. So: if your child is studying in a place where the window lists "Kung Fu - Karate - Muay Thai - Kickboxing - Krav maga - Rumi Maki", then you might not mind the intermingling, the belt system, and the lack of a deep approach to the art. But if your child is studying in a traditional school that focuses on kung fu and the associated skills and deep understanding, this book will not be relevant, and may be a distraction.
I hope this doesn't seem overly negative - but the belt system seems to be a big dividing line in philosophies. If you work with a belt system, this book is great; if you want to avoid the belt system, avoid this book.
My six year old happens to be named Julie. She just earned her purple belt in Taekwondo. We were astonished and overjoyed to stumble over this book. It is wonderful for any young aspiring martial artist - especially for girls. Beautiful book !!!