Shen Shixi was born in Shanghai in 1952. In 1969, when lots of young people from Chinese cities were sent to remote rural areas, the 16-year-old Shen was asked to choose from nine different regions. He asked to go to Xishuangbanna, a tropical region in southwest China, mainly because he had heard of all the different animals there, and because he hoped he could have a hunting dog. When he arrived there, he not only got a dog, but went to live in the house of a hunter, who treated him like a son, and took him hunting all over Xishuangbanna. In this way, he learnt a great deal about animals and how they behave. He learnt how to fish, build houses, plough fields and work in the paddy fields, and worked at a hydrological power station and as a school teacher in a small village. In 1975, Shen joined the army, and moved away. Gradually he started to write stories. He has written over 20 prize-winning books for children, most of them stories about animals.