Dragon Soup

( 2 )

Overview

A moving story set in Southeast Asia that illustrates the value of a "win-win" solution to life's obstacles. When Tonlu's father cannot pay his great debt to the village merchant, Tonlu must become the man's bride. Tonlu cannot bear the thought of leaving her home and marrying the cruel merchant, and resolves to pay the debt by climbing the treacherous mountain steps and stealing some of the cloud dragons' vast treasure. Full color.

When Tonlu tries to steal a pearl ...

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Overview

A moving story set in Southeast Asia that illustrates the value of a "win-win" solution to life's obstacles. When Tonlu's father cannot pay his great debt to the village merchant, Tonlu must become the man's bride. Tonlu cannot bear the thought of leaving her home and marrying the cruel merchant, and resolves to pay the debt by climbing the treacherous mountain steps and stealing some of the cloud dragons' vast treasure. Full color.

When Tonlu tries to steal a pearl from the Cloud Dragons' treasure in order to help her father pay his debts, she finds herself resolving a dispute about soup recipes.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Williams's (Tales from the Dragon's Cave) feisty original tale, set in an unnamed Asian village, is sadly undermined by the garishness of Smith's (Grandfather Four Winds and Rising Moon) illustrations. Tonlu, the spirited heroine, vows to steal treasure from the cave of the cloud dragons in order to save her family from economic ruin and herself from a forced marriage. She is caught red-handed, and here events take a surprising turn. The two dragon brothers ask Tonlu to judge their soup recipes; one dragon will add her to the soup ingredients if she chooses his brother's broth; the other promises to give her treasure if she proclaims him the victor. Clever Tonlu comes up with an answer that earns her freedom as well as riches. Williams's efforts are cheapened by the artwork's lack of subtlety. A radioactive palette vies with overwrought composition in a distracting display likely to keep readers at bay. Ages 4-10. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2The problem with "message" books is that they too often substitute sermons for stories. Dragon Soup is a perfect example; the message, and not the storytelling, is the focus here. Children are likely to revel in Smith's brilliantly colored and imaginative paintings that are further enhanced by superior book design, but they may be a great deal more reluctant to sit still for Williams's lecture on conflict resolution. The fantasy is set in an unnamed land of jungles and mountains that appears to be the Far East. The human characters are clearly Asian. When economic disaster threatens a young family, the daughter, Tonlu, climbs rice terraces to the top of the mountain where Cloud Dragons guard their fabulous pearls. If the child can secure just one of them, she can pay her father's debts. Instead, she is captured by two brother dragons who have a long-standing quarrel about which one makes the best soup. Tonlu's fate is to determine a winner. Of course, the story is resolved when the girl finds a "win-win-win" solution that allows all of them to be happy. Conflict resolution in real places, and especially in a violent society, is admirable, but when dragons are in the tale, most kids are going to want a more robust and exciting story that is considerably less transparent in its aims.Jerry D. Flack, University of Colorado
Ilene Cooper
Set in an unnamed Asian country, this is the story of Tonlu, who is going to be forced to marry a merchant to whom her father owes money. Finding this unacceptable, Tonlu decides, instead, to visit the Cloud Dragons and take one of their pearls. After an arduous mountain climb, she reaches two dragons, but she is discovered before she can escape with the pearl. To her surprise, the dragons don't want to eat her, they want her to settle an argument--which of them makes the better soup. It is up to Tonlu to come to a decision that makes everyone a winner. The flamboyant artwork is well executed; however, the colors tend to be somewhat garish, with lots of purples and greens. The interesting thing about the story is its twist. Tonlu does not need to outsmart the dragons, and the dragons don't really want to hurt her. When that is understood, a solution can be found that pleases everyone. An interesting conversation starter.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780915811632
  • Publisher: Kramer, H. J., Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,071,864
  • Age range: 4 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.66 (w) x 11.02 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2012

    This is a beautiful book that will appeal to children and captur

    This is a beautiful book that will appeal to children and capture their imaginations. Highly recommended. The only problem is that Barnes and Noble has the author wrong. It should be Arlene Williams.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2010

    Dragon Soup: a fun adventure with fantastical drawings

    This is a gorgeously illustrated children's book that I remember reading as a child, and knew I had to get for my son. It is that unforgetable! Along with the beautiful pictures is a rich story about a brave, adventurous young girl seeking to save her family's home. The message of the book encourages children to solve problems with compromise and thinking outside of the box. If nothing else though, it's definitely worth buying just for the pictures! Truly, a wonderful book.

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