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  • The Five Ancestors Book 4: Crane
  • Written by Jeff Stone
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  • The Five Ancestors Book 4: Crane
  • Written by Jeff Stone
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On Sale: February 10, 2009
Pages: 272 | ISBN: 978-0-375-89181-6
Published by : Random House Books for Young Readers RH Childrens Books

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Read by Kiki Barrera
On Sale: February 27, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7393-3955-8
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Hok, a crane-style Kung Fu master, is also a master at hiding. For the past 12 years, she has hidden the fact that she is a girl. Now her rogue brother, Ying, and his army have placed a huge price on her head. Fortunately, she manages to make it to Keifeng where she finds her mother and a "round-eye" with the very funny name of Charles. Together Hok and Charles start to make some sense of the magnitude of Ying's plans.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

chapter
1


Twelve-year-old Hok sat perched high in a tree in a dreamlike state. All around her, Cangzhen was burning. Thick black smoke rushed over her on currents of air formed by the intense heat below. Her brothers, Fu, Malao, Seh, and Long, had already taken flight. It was time for her to do the same. Grandmaster had told them to scatter into the four winds, so into the wind she would go.

Hok spread her arms wide and let the warm, rising air lift her into the night sky. She welcomed the familiar feeling and soon found herself soaring through the darkness, circling higher and higher. Yet no matter how high she flew, she couldn't escape the smoke. It burned her eyes and obscured her vision. She had no choice but to descend once more. Maybe she could somehow fly around the trouble.

Below her, the Cangzhen compound came into view again. Through the smoky haze, Hok saw the outlines of a hundred fallen monks. She was as power-less to help them now as she had been during the attack. She frowned, and continued on.

Hok headed for Cangzhen's main gates and saw her former brother Ying just beyond them, his carved dragon face contorted into an angry scowl. Grand-master was with Ying, and so was her brother Fu. Hok watched as Ying cut Fu's cheek with his chain whip, then blasted a large hole clear through Grandmaster's upper body with a qiang.

Hok shuddered and blinked, and Ying disappeared like mythical dragons were rumored to do. Fu ran away, and Grandmaster slumped to the ground.

Behind her, Hok heard her youngest brother, Malao, giggle. She glanced back, but saw no sign of
him. Instead, she caught a glimpse of a monkey demon dancing across a burning rooftop-
What is going on? Hok wondered. She had had strange, vivid dreams before, but never one quite like this. Everything was so clear and so . . . violent.

The images got worse.

Hok saw Grandmaster suddenly stand, streams of smoke drifting in and out of the bloody hole in his chest. He glanced up at Hok soaring overhead, and his wrinkled bald head tumbled off his shoulders.

Hok shuddered again. She had had enough. She wanted to wake up. She pinched herself-and felt it-but nothing changed. She was still gliding on smoky currents of air. She felt as if she were asleep and awake at the same time.

Perhaps the smoke had something to do with it. If she could just get away from the smoke, maybe she could find a way to wake up. Hok glided beyond the tree line, skimming the treetops. She flew as low as possible, hoping that the drifting smoke would rise above her.

She hadn't gotten very far into the forest when she passed over a large hollow tree and caught a glimpse of herself burying Grandmaster's headless body inside it. Curious, Hok landed on a nearby limb and watched herself finish the job, then drift off to sleep inside the tree.

As Hok stared through the smoky darkness, she saw a soldier with the head of a mantis sneak into the tree hollow and sprinkle something over her sleeping face.

She had been drugged. That was why she was having trouble waking up.

With this realization came a dizzying sensation. Part of Hok's mind raced back to her lessons with Grandmaster concerning certain types of mushroom spores and different plant matter that, if inhaled, could put a person into a dreamlike fog for days on end. Hok grew certain that she was now only half-asleep, which meant that she was half-awake. She made a conscious effort to pull herself into the waking world, and the smoke around her began to thin.

At the same time, Hok watched the soldier's impossible insect head in her dream. It transformed from that of a mantis into that of a man, and she recognized him. His name was Tonglong. He was Ying's number one soldier. Hok watched Tonglong lift her unconscious body and carry it out of the tree hollow.

Hok spread her arms in her dream and leaped into the air, following Tonglong. She glanced down and saw that two soldiers were now carrying her unconscious body along a trail. She was bound and hanging from a pole like a trophy animal.

Hok blinked and the scene below changed. She was now unbound, having a conversation in the
forest with Fu, Malao, and a . . . tiger cub?

Hok blinked again, and a stiff breeze rose out of nowhere. It whisked the remaining smoke away, and the images went with it.

When the breeze stopped, Hok felt herself begin to tumble from the sky. She pinched herself again.
This time, she opened her eyes.

Hok found herself facedown on the muddy bank of a narrow stream. The earth was cool and moist, but the midday sun overhead warmed her bare feet and the back of her aching head. She raised her long, bony fingers to the top of her pounding temples and felt something she hadn't felt in years: hair. It was little more than stubble and caked with mud, but it was undeniable.

How long have I been asleep? Hok wondered. Where am I?

She lifted her head and her vision slowly gained focus. So did her other senses.

Hok twitched. She wasn't alone.

"You've been drugged," a voice purred from overhead. "Let me help you."

Hok looked into a nearby tree and her eyes widened. Lounging on a large limb was a lean bald man in an orange monk's robe. The man raised his bushy eyebrows and leaped to the ground with all the grace and nimbleness of a leopard. He approached Hok with smooth, confident strides.

"Dream Dust, I'm guessing," the man said. "If so, you'll be feeling the effects on and off for days. It's powerful stuff. It blurs the line between dreams and reality."

Hok stared, unblinking, at the man. If she remembered her training correctly, Dream Dust was derived from the pods of poppy flowers. Powerful stuff, indeed.

"My name is Tsung," the man offered. "It's Mandarin for monk. A simple name for a simple man. I am from Shaolin Temple originally, but I live outside the temple now among regular folk. Hence, my name."
Jeff Stone

About Jeff Stone

Jeff Stone - The Five Ancestors Book 4: Crane

Photo © Courtesy of the Author

Jeff Stone lives in the Midwest with his wife and two children and practices the martial arts daily. Though Mr. Stone isn't Chinese, his wife is. She’s from Hong Kong and speaks Cantonese, Mandarin, and English fluently. They have two children, a daughter age 5 and a son age 3. Both children speak Cantonese and English. Mr. Stone thinks his English skills are pretty good, but his Cantonese still needs a lot of work.
Like the Five Ancestors, Mr. Stone was adopted as an infant. He began searching for his birth mother when he was eighteen and found her fifteen years later.
Mr. Stone has worked as a photographer, an editor, a maintenance man, a technical writer, a ballroom dance instructor, a concert promoter, and a marketing director for companies that design schools, libraries, and skateboard parks.
When he isn’t busy hiking, fishing, reading, playing sports, practicing martial arts, or traveling to Hong Kong with his wife and two children, Mr. Stone can usually be spotted writing at home.
Awards

Awards

WINNER 2008 ALA Quick Pick for Young Adult Reluctant Readers
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide



ABOUT THIS BOOK

Grades 6 up
Filled with action and adventure and seeped in Chinese culture, this series is perfect for engaging young readers!

Hok, a crane-style kung fu master, is also a master at hiding. For the past 12 years, she has hidden the fact that she is a girl. Now her rogue brother, Ying, and his army have placed a huge price on her head. Fortunately, she manages to make it to Keifeng where she finds her mother and a “round-eye” with the very funny name of Charles. Together Hok and Charles start to make some sense of the magnitude of Ying’s plans.

TEACHING IDEAS

USING THE SERIES AS A WHOLE

KUNG FU—STYLE DOCUMENTARIES
In groups of three or four, have students research one of the animals–tiger, monkey, snake, crane, or eagle–in its natural habitat, exploring the following questions and more: What are the animal’s physical attributes and how does it move? What adaptations ensure its survival? What are its sleeping and feeding habits? Who are its natural enemies? Have students relate their research findings to the personalities and abilities of Fu, Malao, Seh, Hok, and Ying. How would one monk naturally get along with the other monks? Which monks would be natural enemies? How do their natural abilities help them in their kung fu styles? Next have the groups write and film a short video “documentary” explaining how the animal relates to the kung fu style of the monk. They will need to incorporate a variety of visual elements and sequences in their animal documentary and explain the role the animal plays in the young monk’s life that they chose to research. For example, the albino monkey in Malao’s life, the snake that attaches itself to Seh, the crane that helps Hok, and the tiger that stays in the distance for Fu. Students may follow the model of public television animal programs or may adapt the edgier tone of documentary programs such as The Crocodile Hunter.

CANGZHEN TEMPLE CHARACTER CHRONOLOGIES
Divide students into five groups and give each group one of the books in the Five Ancestors series. Ask each group to follow their character from the burning of the temple to the end of the series, making a list of each of the major stops along their journey, noting when possible the time lapse between moves the character makes, who he or she is traveling with, and the moves of the other characters. Then on a long piece of bulletin-board paper have each group first write their character’s events on a time line, and then illustrate in color each event along the time line, making a mural that shows the travels and experiences of all five of the monks after the temple burned. When the time line is complete, students will be able to see where the lives of each brother and their sister have intersected on the journey to their destiny.

A FINE LINE: TRACING THE LINEAGE OF THE FIVE ANCESTORS
A family tree traces the background of a family to its origins. Starting at the bottom of the tree, ask each pair of students to write the names of each of the five monks, and on the same horizontal level write the names of their brothers and sisters. Just above the monks and their siblings, students should write the names of their parents (fathers and mothers) using both the animal name and the Cantonese name of everyone in the tree. If additional explanations are needed about any of the relationships, ask students to write the explanations on a side bar and identify the additional explanations with numbers correlating to each monk. Two generations of Cantonese monks has made for a strong family tree. Ask students to write on one side of the tree a brief explanation of how each of the five young monks came to be at the Cangzhen Temple.

DISCUSSION AND WRITING

COURAGE–Hok is most courageous. She battles for her own survival after she fights with General Tsung, walking for days with a broken arm and bruises and scratches all over her body. Jumping into the fighting ring with Scar to save Malao, Hok is forced to fight General Tsung again. And alone she breaks into the Emperor’s prison to free Ying. What summons such courage within her? Why is she willing to risk her life for the lives of others? How does Hok’s courage pay off for her?

LOYALTY–When Hok learns that Seh has been left blind from the poisonous dart, she encourages him to develop new skills to adapt to his blindness. Seh sulks and pouts and tells Hok to leave him alone, but she refuses to be put off by his sullen behavior. Eventually, Seh gives in, and Hok teaches him crane kung fu techniques that focus on balance. Why does Hok refuse to give up on Seh when he is so mean to her? What role does PawPaw play in helping Hok reach Seh?

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

SOCIAL STUDIES–Even though the Jinan Fighting Club matches occurred in China in AD 1650, they can be compared to fights of World Wrestling Entertainment, the largest professional wrestling organization in the world. To focus on similarities in what occurs when the fighters/wrestlers are in the pit/ring, divide student into groups of three and ask them to reread Chapters 30 and 31, making a list of commentary from the crowd, names of the fighters, betting procedures, and other items of interest that might compare to a WWE event. Then show a short clip of a WWE wrestling match and ask the students to add to their list additional, similar, and/or dissimilar items, specifically noting the crowds’ behavior. Lastly have students write and present a script for fight entertainment at the Jinan Fighting Club including Fu and Malao.

SCIENCE–In recent years, alternative medicine has regained some popularity due to negative side affects and the rising cost of prescription drugs. Ask pairs of students to research alternative medicines for specific illnesses: colds, flu, diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression, cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, headaches, and others. Ask each pair of students to find an alternative medicine or treatment that could help someone with one of the above diseases and write a brochure explaining the “cure” or prevention and its advantages over conventional prescription drugs.

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