A Case of Sense

Kirkus Reviews - November 2016

The folktale on which this story is based has versions in Japan, China, Korea, Turkey, and elsewhere, but young American readers will likely see it here for the first time. They’ll laugh at the justice served to Fu Wang and appreciate the wisdom of the judge. Bersani’s illustrations feature a wonderfully diverse cast of men and women of primarily Asian descent, although Fu Wang looks a bit like a stereotypical villain. The text on each page can be lengthy but the vocabulary is appropriate for a mid-elementary-school audience, who will get the most out of the tale; classroom-activity pages about the five senses, as well as a science experiment about diffusion, follow the text. The images also help move the story along at a steady pace.

Midwest Book Review - January 2017

"A Case of Sense" retells a teaching tale from Chinese traditions about a greedy neighbor, Fu Wang, who tried to collect money from his neighbors for the delicious smells of his cooking, as witnessed by a boy named Ming, who was playing with his dog in the street...Following the story of "A Case of Sense," there are four pages of learning activities and questions to encourage further critical thought in young readers. Additional free learning activities are available online at, Other Arbordale titles that teach children more about senses and judgement.

Horn Book Guide - October 2017

Ming can smell delicious aromas coming from Fu Wang's house; Fu Wang's malicious plan is to charge his neighbors just for smelling the meal. A wise judge rules that in exchange for the delicious smells, the townspeople only owe the sound of clinking money.

Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children's Books

It's a clever story and this retelling is well done and makes the tale available to a new audience. (The publisher also has it available in Spanish.) Colorful illustrations show a Chinese neighborhood with a taste if the mid 1900's. The large format paperback book includes extension activities.

Children's and Young Adult Book Review Board of Missouri

A Case of Sense is a truly unique story that engages all of a reader's five senses along with a great story by Songju Ma Daemicke and illustrations by Shennen Bersani. The additional resources provided by Arbordale Publishing make this book an excellent resource in the classroom.

Outnumbered 3 to 1 - September 2016

A Case of Sense written by Songju Ma Daemicke and illustrated by Shennen Bersani is one of those books with a life lesson built right in. Ming smells delicious food coming from greedy Fu Wang’s house. Fu Wang now wants all the neighbors to pay for the smells! Of course no one pays so he takes them to court. The judge has something important to say about the whole scenario. A book with good information on the senses and a story little kids will enjoy and learn from.

Heck of a Bunch - September 2016

A book about a preposterous dispute, A Case of Sense tells of a boy named Ming who observes a greedy man try to take advantage of the townspeople. The man, Fu Wang, tries to extort money out of the people by demanding they pay for the aromas of his dishes. Once in court, the two sides squabble back and forth. The judge then comes up with a pretty clever way to show that you can't charge people for using their senses.

Goodreads Reviews - September 2016

A case of logic and common sense give this picture book it's power and intrigue. It sparks the imagination to know there are no boundaries to what we want if we work to achieve our goals. The illustrations are vibrant and meaningful. The story, well done and richly enticing.

The Vibrant Channeled Creator - September 2016

Reading the story of Ming’s experience reminded me of the early picture books I read over and over about the Ten Chinese Brothers. In the end, Ming realized he might want to be a wise judge, banging a gavel and bringing to justice all the injured parties. Everyone in the city can smell the fish, shrimp, beef stew, chicken,dumplings, and spicy noodles. The bold faced sounds are jumping on the page, letting the loud gongs and gavel ring out! When the judgement comes down, all agree that smells and sounds are free to enjoy.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine - February 2017

If you are looking for a fun book that will keep you learning after you finish reading it, you should check out A Case of Sense. We loved it and we think you will too!