The House of Sixty Fathers

The House of Sixty Fathers


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Tien Pao is all alone in enemy territoy. Only a few days before, his family had escaped from the Japanese army, fleeing downriver by boat. Then came the terrible rainstorm. Tien Pao was fast asleep in the little sampan when the boat broke loose from its moorings and drifted right back to the Japanese soldiers. With only his lucky pig for company, Tien Pao must begin a long and dangerous journey in search of his home and family.

‘A vividly realistic story of China during the early days of the Japanese invasion [which tells of young Tien Pao’s journey to find his family].’ —C.‘Valuable as enrichment literature for elementary students involved in Chinese studies.’ —Scholastic Teacher.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780064402002
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/28/1987
Series: A Trophy Bk.
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.42(d)
Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One


Rain raised the river. Rain beat down on the sampan where it lay in a long row of sampans tied to the riverbank. Rain drummed down on the mats that were shaped in the form of an arched roof over the middle of the sampan. It clattered hard on the four long oars lying on top of the roof of mats.

The rain found the bullethole in the roof of mats. Thick drops of water dripped through the bullethole onto the neck of the family pig, sleeping on the floor of the sampan. The little pig twitched his neck every time a big, cold drop of water hit it, but he went on sleeping.

Tien Pao looked on in quiet amusement to see how many cold drops it would take to wake the pig. It took nine--then with a disgusted grunt the little pig slid over just far enough to get his neck from under the drip.

But the drip from the bullethole began making a big puddle on the floor. With his bare toes Tien Pao shoved the dishpan with the three ducklings under the drip. He settled himself on the bench again, and leaned his head against the wall of mats.

The little pig was sound asleep. The ducklings went to sleep in a little huddle at the bottom of the dishpan. The drumming of the rain on the matting overhead became so monotonous, Tien Pao's head began to nod. Under half-shut eyelids he saw the sleeping ducklings rise on the water that dripped into their pan. They drifted in their sleep. The big, monotonous drops kept stirring the water.

Rain raised the river. The sampan swayed and bobbed on the rising water. Voices drifted from the other sampans in the long row of sampans and muttered among the drumming rain. Tien- Pao dosed hiseyes and almost slept, and yet he didn't sleep. He sat sagged against the mats, dreamily remembering the hard days just past, the hard journey.

It had been a long journey. Tien Pao had lost count of all the days and nights. But all those nights when the horns of the new moon had stood dimly in the sky, Tien Pao and his father and mother had pushed the sampan on and on against the currents of the endless rivers. Day and night. There was no stopping even at night. "We won't stop until we drop," Tien Pao's father had kept saying over and over. "And we won't drop until we are far inside this great land of China. Far from the sea-for where the sea is, there the Japanese invaders are."

The family pig, the three ducklings, and the little stone mill to grind the rice for the baby sister--these they had saved from the mud house of the family of Tien that had stood a little beyond their village of The-Corner-of-the-Mountains-Where-the-Rivers-Meet. Besides these they had saved absolutely nothing, except Beauty-of-the-Republic, Tien Pao's baby sister.

Suddenly one morning the Japanese had come. Bullets had whined through the crooked streets of the village, bullets had pierced the mud walls of the houses, people had screamed. There had been terrible screams inside the houses.

The Japanese soldiers had come in at one end of the village, and like a herd of lowing cattle the villagers had run out of the other end--to the river and the sampans. They had crowded into the Sampans, they had shoved them madly into the river.

Over the river had come a snarling roar. Japanese planes had burst out of the clouds, had hurtled themselves at the crowded ;sampans. Bullets had stuttered out of the screeching, diving planes, a horrible hail of bullets had slammed into the sampans.

Back and back the planes had come with their hail of bullets, while sampans sank and went under. Back and back until there was but one empty sampan left drifting on the water. Then the planes had come no more--not for one empty sampan. It had drifted silently--empty.

The family of Tien had seen it all from the clump of bamboos at the edge of the river where they had crouched. The planes had passed, the air above the river was still and empty, but now the shooting in the village had drawn nearer. "Now! Now!" Tien Hsu, the father, had whispered in the bamboo clump to his little family. "It is now, or never." He had plunged into the river after the drifting sampan. Tien Pao and his mother, with Beauty-of-the-Republic strapped to her back, .had plunged after him. His mother had the rice mill, Tien Pao had the family pig under one arm, the dishpan with the ducklings squeezed against his chest. But his father had boarded the empty sampan, and his father had pulled everything and everybody on board. He had simply pulled Tien Pao up by his head and his neck, while Tien Pao dung to the pig and the dishpan.

Then Tien Pao's father had run to the back of the sampan and had grabbed the oars. Tien Pao had started for the front of the sampan to take the oars there. But his mother had caught him and flung him to the floor of the sampan. "No!" she'd whispered fiercely. "Children must live." She'd unstrapped the baby and had pushed her at Tien Pao where he lay on the floor; she'd made Tien Pao hold his hand over the hole made by a Japanese bullet in the floor of the sampan, and she had gone to the oars at the front of the sampan.

On the floor Tien Pao had held Beauty-of-the-Republic tightly against him, while with his other hand he'd twisted his cap into a prop to shove into the bullethole through which the river water came welling. He had lain on the prop to keep the water from pushing it out again, and he'd lain half over the baby sister to shield her if the airplanes and the bullets should come again. The House of Sixty Fathers. Copyright © by Meindert DeJong. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Rain on the Sampan
Sampan in the River
Night in the Mountains
The River Cliff
Cuckoos Call at Night
In the Town of Terror
The House of Sixty Fathers
The Long Day
Break Down the Mountains

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House of Sixty Fathers 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
HerrellFam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When we read this, the girls were begging for me to read MORE each day when it was time to stop. It's well written, and really draws you into the time and place.
Elizabeth.Wong98 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a chinese boy, Tien Pao, who is lost and all alone except for his faithful pig who's name is Glory of the Republic. The boat that he lives on with his parents is swept downriver with just him and his pig on it. Unsure of himself, Tien Pao starts the long journey back to his family. On the way he has many challenges such as avoiding Japanese soldiers, protecting his pig from hungry children, finding food, and much more. Tien Pao meets some American soldiers who help him in his search and also learns about American ways and cultures. He also unwittingly becomes part of the resistance against the Japanese. Even Glory of the Republic is involved. Eventually, the tired boy finds his mother and is reunited happily. This is one of the best historical fiction books I've ever read. One of the best parts was Tien Pao's relationship with the little pig who is his constant companion. It was heartbreaking when he was separated from his beloved family and then heartbreaking again when he was reunited. This book also opened my eyes to the kindness of human beings. A old woman risked her life to help the resistance and Tien Pao and eventually paid the absolute price for it. This book also gave me insight on how much a different culture can affect someone in a positive way. I stayed up all night reading this book, and it was truly awakening. I highly recommend this book.
jakdomin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel is written for children who will certainly gain a greater understanding of Chinese Culture and history of the time period, but is even a gripping novel for adults. This book would be good to read aloud in class because it would reinforce the dramatic (and emotional) details of the story, especially at the end. Talking about these emotional moments would be beneficial for the readers to really grasp the importance of this story. Could have reflective lesson on what the animals in the story- ducklings, his pig - symbolize, if anything. Another reflection could be about what Tien Pao learns about the American life from his ¿sixty fathers¿ (the airmen, i.e. technology).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. It's a little slow at first, but then really picks up. You will love this story and keep it in your heart forever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
We read this book in class and it was pretty good! I was suprised at the ending of the book, I thought it would not just end 'plop' just like that! But it was a pretty good book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's a fantastic bk actually,i could have rated it more if its not used as my Literature textbook
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not stop reading this book. It was so exciting! It was required for Sonlight Curriculum and I can see why! What an awesome book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best that I have read! It is a wonderfully composed story of a young boy and his pet pig as they find their way back home after a boat accident. Dejong really draws you into the story as she weaves a delicate tale of adventure and two different worlds coming together. I highly reccomend this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a great story. But it is a really sad story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about a kid that is lost with a pig. It is a good book but also sad.