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Remarkable Journey Of Prince Jen [Hardcover]

Lloyd Alexander
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 25 2001
Newbery medalist and author of The Book of Three, Alexander offers a spellbinding, Chinese-inspired tale of a young prince who undertakes a pilgrimage with his father, only to encounter a vexing string of bad luck.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

When Prince Jen hears of the happy, prosperous land of T'ien-kuo, he vows to seek out its ruler and learn from his example. And so he sets out, bearing six humble gifts for the emperor of T'ien-kuo. Readers versed in the logic of fairy tales will not be surprised when Jen's route veers from his original plan and the six gifts end up in hands other than those of T'ien-kuo's lord. Along the way, Jen falls in love, has a number of run-ins with an ambitious, bloodthirsty bandit and slowly descends from his exalted station until he is condemned to wear the cangue, a heavy wooden collar for criminals. In the novel's final scenes, the gifts and their new owners return to play an important part in Jen's struggle to save his life and kingdom. Although patchy character development slows the narrative in places, the elegant, almost archetypal plot offers considerable enjoyment. Prince Jen's travels are pleasantly reminiscent of the series of coming-of-age journeys found in the author's earlier Prydain Chronicles. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-10-- From deep in the cauldron of world story comes a rich fantasy about a young man's journey from innocence to experience. In China during the Tang Dynasty, young Prince Jen, heir to the Dragon Throne, sets off to find T'ien-kuo, or Heavenly Kingdom, the utopia described by a mysterious wandering scholar. Accompanied by a large retinue of soldiers and his practical, plain-spoken servant, the idealistic, sheltered prince bears six gifts for the ruler of T'ien-kuo. As his journey progresses, he loses everything: his retinue, his possessions, his identity, his illusions, his friends, until at last, in one of Alexander's most moving passages, he finds himself a common criminal, wandering the roads of his own kingdom, wearing the wooden collar of punishment. Although experience is a harsh teacher, Jen never loses his common humanity, nor his faith in the bondmaid he loves. Alexander borrows form and content from the popular novels of the Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties, particularly Shi Nai'an's Outlaws of the Marsh (China Bks., 1988), and is influenced, as are the Ming-Ch'ing novels, by the vernacular literature of the Sung Dynasty. Yet Jen's story transcends all boundaries, mixing Alexander's familiar cast--the impulsive, good-hearted boy; the clever, independent young woman; the assortment of eccentric, loyal companions--with flavors of European folklore; Hans Christian Andersen; admiring Chinoiserie, Buddhist and Taoist ideas; Arabian Nights extravagance. Alexander satisfies the taste for excitement, but his vivid characters and the food for thought he offers will nourish long after the last page is turned. --Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Journey to the North April 23 2003
By A Customer
I have read many books in my life, but my favorite one is The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen. It is a fantasy written by Lloyd Alexander.
The main character, Young Lord Prince Jen Shao Yeh, is very honest and is willing to help anyone. He does not act as a prince while outside the palace. Instead, he wears a yellow robe and a yellow hat. This book takes place in back in 7th century China, during the T´¿ang Dynasty. The celestial palace is in the capital, Chang´¿an where Jen Shao Yeh comes from.
In the beginning, when Jen departs from the celestial palace on a great journey, he brings his servant and army with him. He rides a carriage along the way, carrying a sack of gifts, heading to the kingdom of Tien´¿Kuo. On his journey, he meets many people, including a painter named Chen Cho, Natha Yellow Scarf, and Master Chu. He parts with some of his group and some of the gifts but finds them back. Jen is informed by his servant that his father, the king, died when they were on the journey and that he was now king of T´¿ang. He is immediately sent back to the palace. When he does, he finds that an enemy has already taken over the palace. Will Jen be able to recapture his kingdom and rule with his beloved lady?
I would recommend this novel because Lloyd Alexander has used very descriptive words and I can picture what is going on. I would give this book a 5 star rating because it is just one of my favorite books that I have read in my whole entire life! This book is confusing the first time you read it though not the second time. I would especially recommend this book to children in fourth grade and up because the vocabulary skills necessary are quite demanding. This book sure will be a joy to read.
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By A Customer
The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen is a fantastic fantasy and an incredible un-put-down-able read by Lloyd Alexander. When Prince Jen sets off to find the legendary court of T'ien-kuo with the king's best soldiers and six mysterious gifts, he never could have guessed it could lead to such a remarkable journey. Disaster strikes almost at once. First, a sniveling old man almost drowns the young royal, then their carriage breaks down and they lose the soldiers and finally, Jen almost loses his head to a terrifying bandit and has his royal warrant stolen. But with his trusty servant Mafoo and the clever flute girl Voyaging-Moon at his side Jen is determined to find the legendary kingdom and not to fail his father. Jen continues steadily north and meets a conceited official and a 'long legged lunatic' or 'honest robber' named Moxa. Together Jen, Mafoo, Voyaging-Moon and Moxa finally reach the River Lo. In their haste to cross they make the mistake of trying to cross in bad weather. During a storm their boat is ripped apart and the four friends are swept away from each other down the speeding River Lo!!
Will the four friends survive a storm on the river?
Will they ever see his each other again?
To find out read this fantastic book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Master Hu, Fu, Wu, Shu and Chu, Who Are They? April 22 2003
By A Customer
Are you looking for a fantasy book that is set in history? The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander is it!
The main character is Jen, the young lord prince, he is persistent, sometimes brave, and generous and he likes Voyaging Moon who is valiant flute girl. This story took place in the Kingdom of Tang and it happened long time ago. Jen, the young lord prince, is traveling to Tien-Kuo to learn more about the kingdom. The prince went searching day and night for Voyaging Moon but he failed at finding her, instead, it got him troubles. He was locked and kept in the dark, creepy jail and was forced by Fat Choy to wear a cangue! Jen gave away his 6 gifts to a traveler that past by that needs presents for another purpose. Finally Jen's 6 valuable gifts (a pointy, sharp sword, a light, smooth saddle, a paint box, a well decorated bronze bowl, a wide, big, beautiful kite, and a wooden flute) for Yuan-Ming (the king of Tien-Kuo) were all given away. He was going empty handed to Tien-Kuo.However, something sad and unbelievable just stopped him to go. It made him return to Chang'an (his palace). From this, I learned that you must never give up doing something except when only some other important thing has to be assigned before that. Moreover, you must know nothing before you can learn something, and be empty before you can be filled. I will recommend this book because it has many descriptive sentences like: The reek of old battlefields choked his nostrils. Cries of the wounded and dying filled his ears. Some can grab your attention like: Robbed and terrorized by bandits, they are worse off than ever. What can they possibly do? To find out, read the next chapter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars a book to savor and an invitation to journey Feb. 18 2003
By Musa
This is the first of Lloyd Alexander's books that I have read. I came across it by accident at the local library and felt mildly curious about it. I read the entire book in one (very long) sitting and was so pleased with it that the next day I read it again, savoring little gems of dialogue and observation and subtle humor. It's not a perfect book but it is a book I'll return to because (like the Six Gifts in the story) there is much more to it than first meets the eye.
As other reviews have noted, the story (actually, stories within stories) is richly endowed with myth and legend. I don't know how much of the mythic/fantastic content is a retelling of traditional Chinese folklore and how much of it is direct from Alexander's imagination, but in any case, he brings a refreshingly light and skillful touch to telling stories with deep roots.
The book does leave me curious to explore traditional Chinese myths and legends - a vein of folklore with which I'm not very familiar but which based on this book may well hold storerooms of hidden treasures.
The story Alexander tells concerns the inner journey just as much as it concerns an outer journey. There are a number of quotes from Taoist and other mystical tradition that indicate Alexander is aware of this, but he is too good a writer to be heavy-handed about it.
Stories in the myth/legend genre risk falling into stereotypical characterization - good guys versus bad guys - and Alexander doesn't entirely escape this. However, the main characters do do have some complexity and life, they can do unexpected things and they can change. Even the main Bad Guy has some good traits at the beginning, although by the end he is simply vain and vicious.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book to read to your kids
I was read this book when I was a child, and I am still fond of it today. I just bought a hardcover, so I can keep it in my library for when my kids are old enough. Read more
Published on March 29 2004 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Yuck
I hated this book. I just hated it. It was extremely boring, and seemed to go on and on with that. The only good thing about it is it has morals to it. Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars A Young Prince Condemned To Death By a Bandit...
Like books that are filled with action and romance, but couldn't find a selection? Well, than read The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen! Read more
Published on April 22 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars The Journey to Tien-kou
The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen, by Lloyd Alexander book is a fantasy about the journey of a young prince.
The main character is a young man by the name of Prince Jen. Read more
Published on April 22 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars LLoyd Alexander is a god among storytellers!!!
If I was stuck on a desert island.. you've probably heard that one before.. However, The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen is one of my most absolute favorites of LA's books.. Read more
Published on May 18 2002 by P. S. Rouse
5.0 out of 5 stars Eastern Wisdom and a hero's quest done with charm
I loved this book and am buying it for two thoughtful readers. It blends eastern philosphy into a totally enjoyable story of a hero's and a heroine's quest. Read more
Published on Dec 3 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Fable
How many years has it been since cute symbolic tales were in vogue? A very long time. That is why this book is such a treasure. Not only does Mr. Read more
Published on July 5 2001 by Emily J. Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASY AND ADVENTURE! Alexander has achieved that and more!
What a book! I could not put it down! This is one book that gives you a ride you will never forget! It is a masterpiece of fiction writing! I love it! Read more
Published on May 25 2001 by "chrissall88"
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASY AND ADVENTURE! Alexander has achieved that and more!
What a book! I could not put it down! This is one book that gives you a ride you will never forget! It is a masterpiece of fiction writing! I love it! Read more
Published on May 25 2001 by "chrissall88"
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