Authors and illustrators who make picture books often use ‘dummy books’, rough or hand-sketched versions of the final book, for planning out how their work will look. This vibrant dummy book of Chi Ming and the Lion Dance can show us how its creators imagined the book, and what elements of it they changed as they worked. Artist Pearl Binder has placed her illustrations into the story, leaving gaps for the book’s text!
What was the inspiration for Chi Ming and the Lion Dance?
This book is part of the ‘Ladder Street’ series authored by Josephine Marquand and illustrated by Pearl Binder. ‘Ladder Street’ is a road made up of grey stone steps with houses on each side, based on a real street in Hong Kong. The series follows the everyday lives of a small boy, Chi Ming, and his family who are fruit sellers. Pages 26 and 27 show children sat in rows in a large school classroom. Some children are busy writing or thinking up ideas, but a few appear to have fallen asleep at their desks!
Josephine Marquand, who was British, worked as a teacher in Hong Kong in the 1960s. Pearl Binder, who was her mother, came to visit her. Some of the characters are based on people who they knew. At the time, Hong Kong was a British colony. The books explore the local culture of a region under British administration.
Lion dance, which is illustrated on pages 28 and 29, is performed on important occasions like the Lunar New Year in China and other Asian countries. It features an elaborate lion costume and is said to bring good fortune.