Shen of the Sea is a collection of short stories written by Arthur Bowie Chrisman. It was first published by Dutton in 1925, illustrated with more than 50 silhouettes by Else Hasselriis.[1] Chrisman won the 1926 Newbery Medal for the work, recognizing the previous year's "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children".

Shen of the Sea
First edition
AuthorArthur Bowie Chrisman
IllustratorElse Hasselriis[1]
GenreChildren's short story collection
PublisherE. P. Dutton
Publication date
Publication placeUnited States
Media typePrint
LC ClassPZ7.C45 Sh[1]

The original title page shows subtitle A Book for Children[1] and one early dustjacket shows Chinese Stories for Children. Both subtitles have been used for later editions.[2]

Chrisman's 16 original stories are written in the style of humorous Chinese folk tales. The title story tells of a king who tries to match wits with the demons of the water in order to save his city from a flood. Other tales relate the origin of chopsticks, and an instance when mud pies are revealed to be the origin of fine China.


  • Ah Mee's Invention - about the invention of the printing press
  • Shen of the Sea - a story about tricking demons to save a kingdom
  • How Wise Were the Old Men - a story about prophecy and the twists life take
  • Chop-Sticks - about the invention of chop sticks
  • Buy a Father - a story about morality, primarily obedience
  • Four Generals - a story about using cleverness to overcome
  • The Rain King's Daughter - a story about a young woman who uses cleverness to avoid a war
  • Many Wives - a story about a beautiful young maiden and a not so bright king
  • That Lazy Ah Fun - about the invention of gunpowder
  • The Moon Maiden - a love story
  • Ah Tcha the Sleeper - a story about tea
  • I Wish It Would Rain - a story about an over indulged queen
  • High as Han Hsin - about the invention of the kite
  • Contrary Chueh Chun - a funny story about a man who always does or believes the opposite
  • Pies of the Princess - the invention of fine china
  • As Hai Low Kept House - a funny story about following orders literally and a series of unfortunate circumstances


  1. ^ a b c d "Shen of the sea; a book for children," (first ed.). Library of Congress Online Catalog. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  2. ^ Undated title pages of three Dutton editions, displayed at Google Books (, show the former subtitle reported as 1925 and 1958, the latter reported as 1968.
Preceded by Newbery Medal recipient
Succeeded by