Reviews for Kubla Khan : The Emperor of Everything

Booklist Reviews 2010 July #1
It's a tricky task to re-create the life of the famed Mongolian ruler, as reliable information on the man is scanty, but Krull assembles a convincingly grand impression of Kubla Khan and his vast accomplishments. The grandson of the warlord Genghis Khan, Kubla would eventually become the first emperor of China's Yuan dynasty, and a remarkably enlightened one, stressing knowledge, the arts, and quality of life (though he wasn't above resorting to some serious savagery during his ascendancy). The grandiosity of his reign is well depicted in Byrd's Eastern-style artwork, which provides a subtle buttress to the narrative arc, from the earthy tones of Kubla's nomadic childhood to the regal coloring and intricate designs of his luxurious reign to the husky sunset of his final years. Krull underscores Kubla's worldwide significance by extrapolating how his meeting with Marco Polo helped spark the European age of exploration. A list of sources--with those best suited for young readers handily denoted--concludes the book, a solid choice for reports that is also scintillating enough for pleasure reading. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Spring
The thirteenth-century Mongol ruler was no barbarian; Krull presents a nuanced view of his surprisingly tolerant regime. Byrd's tapestry-like ink and watercolor illustrations reflect the broad scope of the Khan's reach and his receptive mind. Though Krull admits in an afterword that "information about Kubla Khan is sketchy," she draws on what is known in order to pull a real man from the legend. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2010 #6
Grandson of Genghis, the thirteenth-century Mongol ruler Kubla Khan was no barbarian -- at least, his favorite wife Chabi didn't hesitate to yell at him when he acted like one. Krull presents a nuanced view of Kubla Khan's surprisingly tolerant, even progressive, regime. He embraced outside ideas and "surrounded himself with those he deemed smart and trustworthy -- Confucian scholars, Buddhist monks, Muslims, Turks, Tibetan lamas -- a posse of some forty advisers from all parts of his empire." Byrd's tapestry-like ink and watercolor illustrations reflect the broad scope of the Khan's reach as well as his receptive mind, which sought the latest advances in science, medicine, and agriculture to improve the lives of his people. A battle scene of the Mongols conquering China is followed by a lavish portrait of Kubla Khan on his throne in the Imperial City, having adopted the dress and architecture of the more "civilized" Chinese, whom he had long admired. Though Krull admits in an afterword that "information about Kubla Khan is sketchy," she draws on what is known to pull a real man from the opium clouds of Coleridge's poem. christine m. heppermann Copyright 2010 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 August #2

The grandson of Genghis Khan, Kubla Khan united the Mongols and built the largest empire of his time. Under his rule, Beijing became a magnificent capital and the arts and sciences flourished. With just enough text to create a comprehensive yet fast-moving story, Krull depicts the life of this military emperor with a notable level of detail. Byrd's illustrations, based on period artwork, further reveal the spectacle and strength of the khan's empire. Ages 8-up. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 October

Gr 3-6--Krull's clear and lively text describes Kubla Khan's life beginning with his earliest days, when he shot his first rabbit. According to legend, under his grandfather Genghis Khan's guidance, he ate a mixture of its meat and his own blood in a ritual to bring him luck and declare him "worthy of the hunt." During Kubla's reign, he became the first Emperor of the Yuan dynasty. To keep this vast area in check, he knew he would have to live in China and built a city worthy of an emperor. This lavish capital became Beijing. Krull depicts her subject as a wise, if not beloved, ruler. She includes an adequate bibliography with materials for both adults and young readers, but what she makes clear in her note is the relatively scant availability of primary sources. Much of what we know is derived from the fairly unreliable writings of Marco Polo. The colorful and appealing artwork integrates well with the text--the illustrator has also done significant research. Some portraits of Kubla Khan exist, both Chinese and European, but whether they are accurate is unclear. Byrd relied on the work of Eastern artists to inform his art so that the illustrations themselves echo what one may find in Chinese art and Mongolian design of the period. Little has been written for young readers about Kubla Khan, and this is a worthy addition for all collections.--Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA

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