book review

Read Around the World Summer Series: Grandfather Tang’s Story

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We are so excited to be participating in Multi-Cultural Kids Blogs Read Around the World Summer Series.   You can find great reads on their Pinterest Page or just click on the logo below.

Read Around the World Summer Reading Series

I would like to share on of my favorite children’s books and activities. Making tangrams is something fun that kids can do by themselves or together with family. Grandfather Tang’s Story by Ann Tompert, is a wonderful story about two fairy foxes uniquely told in tangrams.

Grandfather Tang’s Story

“Kindergarten-Grade 4– Two competitive fox fairies go through rapid physical transformations until a hunter’s arrow reminds them of their true friendship. This original tangram tale is framed by the loving relationship between a grandfather and granddaughter as they share the story under the shade of an old tree, and culminates in a tangram of an old man and a girl likewise resting. Tangrams, ancient Chinese puzzles in which a square is cut into seven traditional pieces (each called a tan), are arranged into patterns used to help tell the story. Parker’s watercolor washes complement the text, adding energy and tension, as well as evoking oriental brushwork technique. However, the text is strong enough to stand on its own, and will be valued by storytellers and listeners alike.” –Carolyn Noah, Worcester Public Library, MA


Fairy foxes are ancient animals indeed, just like all fairies. Fairy foxes can change shape into anything. The two fairy foxes in our story constantly challenge each other into changing from one animal shape to another.

First a rabbit and then a squirrel.



After a couple of easy animal changes they changed into a hawk to fly high in the sky.


All was well as they continued to change from animals from land, sea, and sky. It was at the goose where problems arose.


Come read this Tangram tale and find out how they work together to have a happy ending. This story is good for any age. Even my 12 yr old loved it and we all had an absolute blast playing our Tangram game. Read below to find out how.

Want to Create your own Tangram Story?:

This story lends itself nicely to a moment of Tangram play. Like building blocks, tangrams can teach kids about spatial relationships, can help kids learn geometric terms and develop stronger problem-solving skills. Some of my teacher friends revealed to be that they also thing tangram play can assist in general mathematics as well. Tangrams is a very ancient Chinese game using 7 shapes.

  • 2 large right triangles.
  • 1 medium right triangle.
  • 2 small right triangles.
  • 1 square
  • 1 parallelogram

Tangram activity

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