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The Peasant Prince - Li Cunxin

The Peasant Prince

By: Li Cunxin, Anne Spudvilas (Illustrator)

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This is your one chance. You have your secret dreams. Follow them! Make them come true . . . '

In a poor village in northern China, a small boy is about to be taken away from everything he's ever known. He is so afraid, but his mother urges him to follow his dreams. For soon he will become a dancer, one of the finest dancers in the world . . .

So begins The Peasant Prince,, The true story of Li Cunxin's extraordinary life. Based upon his internationally best-selling memoir, Mao's Last Dancer, this remarkable picture book captures the essence of one of the most inspiring stories to come from China in many years.

With hauntingly beautiful illustrations by award-winning artist Anne Spudvilas, Li's journey of courage and determination is simply told, and as powerful as any fairytale.

About The Author

Li Cunxin was born in 1961, in the New Village, Li Commune, near the city of Qingdao on the coast of north-east China. The sixth of seven sons in a poor rural family, Li's peasant life in Chairman Mao's communist China changed dramatically when, at the age of eleven, he was chosen by Madame Mao's cultural advisers to become a student at the Beijing Dance Academy. After a summer school in America, for which he was one of only two students chosen, he defected to the West and became a principal dancer for the Housten Ballet.

About The Illustrator

Anne Spudvilas is one of Australia's foremost picture book illustrators and is an established artist. She divides her time between commissioned portraits, her work as a courtroom artist, and her award-winning illustrations for children's books.


An emotional read and wonderful illustrations


I wondered when I bought this beautifully illustrated book to read to the grandchildren because I had read and Loved Mao Last Dancer whether it was more about me than them. . But my 4yr & 6 yr old granddaughters loved it and certainly understood the concepts of "love of family" and "to dream big and work to achieve those dreams" which the story portrays.

Lake Macquarie NSW


The Peasant Prince Picture book


The Peasant Prince picture book is beautifully written and illustrated. I've used it in class with Year 6 students where we analysed and discussed the story. This book was a basis for a unit of work which then expanded out to the study of Li Cunxin, China and other picture books (e.g. Mao and Me, Ming's adventure with Confucious in Qufu, as well as the Mao's Last Dancer young reader's version). A wonderful story about Li Cunxin who was part of China's Beijing Dance School and his struggles in a simple easy to read format to suit all ages.

Sydney NSW


What a magical book. My admiration of Li admirable.


The prompt receipt of the book amazed me. My purchase was for a gift to a young ballet student. Great because of my association with Mary his wife. Her Mother is my best friend since our working days at the ABC Studio in Brisbane in the 1950's.

Mossman. FNQ AU







Great book


Beautiful biography for children

Sunshine Coast


The Peasant Prince

5.0 5


ISBN: 9780670070541
ISBN-10: 0670070548
Audience: Children
For Ages: 4 - 6 years old
For Grades: K - 2
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 40
Published: October 2007
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 29.1 x 24.2  x 1.0
Weight (kg): 0.52
Edition Number: 1