A rare example of a contemporary Chinese novel for children; Cao Wenxuan is known as the country's own Hans Christian Andersen. The story is set during the Chinese Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 70s when educated city dwellers - here an artist and his daughter, Sunflower - were forced to attend village Cadre schools and work the land. Soon after arriving, her father dies and Sunflower is adopted by a poor local family and comes to form a special bond with their mute son Bronze who is fiercely protective of her. Despite the harsh and backbreaking subsistence farming where hunger and poverty are always close by, the characters exhibit great love,dignity generosity and loyalty to each other. The often dramatic adventures of the two children are set against vivid descriptions of day to day life in the village which is culturally so very different to our own.