Fire and Wings: Dragon Tales from East and West

Fire and Wings: Dragon Tales from East and West

by Marianne Carus, Nilesh Mistry, Jane Yolen

Newbery Award winner Jane Yolen’s enchanting preface “Dragons: An Unnatural History” introduces this collection of 15 dragon stories from England, Western and Eastern Europe, Korea, Japan, and China. Ferocious fire-breathing dragons face off with clever princesses and courageous village girls in a riddle match. But the last dragon in the world


Newbery Award winner Jane Yolen’s enchanting preface “Dragons: An Unnatural History” introduces this collection of 15 dragon stories from England, Western and Eastern Europe, Korea, Japan, and China. Ferocious fire-breathing dragons face off with clever princesses and courageous village girls in a riddle match. But the last dragon in the world is a kind, gentle beast who sheds tears of joy when a princess calls him “dragon dear.” Ferocious or kind, wise or wicked, these mythical creatures transport readers to the far corners of the world.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With a foreword by Jane Yolen, Fire and Wings: Dragon Tales from East and West, ed. by Marianne Carus, illus. by Nilesh Mistry, brings together 15 serpent stories set in, among other places, England's Nottingham Forest, the waters surrounding Korea and a seaside village in Japan. Contributors include Patricia MacLachlan, Eric A. Kimmel and E. Nesbit; most of the stories were previously published, the majority of them in Cricket magazine.
Drawn mainly from the pages of Cricket Magazine, this magical collection of modern dragon fairy tales is suitable for all ages. Gathering authors who range from E. Nesbit to Joan Hiatt Harlow and from Jane Yolen to Phillis Gershator, the editors span the scope of dragon storytellers from old to new. The stories alternate between tales of Eastern dragons from China, Korea, and Japan to Western dragons inhabiting Europe from England to Poland, offering refreshing twists on traditional dragon-tale stereotypes. There are no helpless maidens waiting for a prince to rescue them here. Instead, the young women boldly face dragons alone or with the men, taming, tricking, healing, or wedding the dragons as the situation requires. The male heroes are also unusual, including an injured Dragoon, a lone musketeer, and a mathematician prince. The most traditional tale, The Shepherd Who Fought for a Princess retold by Gloria Skurzynski, is an origin tale of Cracow, Poland. The closing title, Waiting for a White Knight by Teresa Bateman, is more a modern joke than a fairy tale story and is the antithesis of the traditional tale the name implies. With brief historical notes when appropriate and concise author biographies at the close of the book, this short collection is as close to a perfect introduction to twentieth-century dragon fairy tales as one will find today. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2002, Cricket Books, 146p,
— Beth Karpas
Children's Literature
Fire and Wings opens with an introduction by Jane Yolen. Fifteen new and traditional dragon tales, two-thirds of which were gleaned from the pages of past issues of Cricket Magazine, show how modern authors have taken the characteristics of western and eastern dragons and woven them into their own stories. There is a shape-changing dragon from England, a sea-dwelling dragon from Korea, a retelling of the Chinese legend, "The Fourth Question," and one of the last stories E. Nesbit wrote. Yolen herself contributes a story from her collection titled Here There Be Dragons. Other contributors include Geraldine McCaughrean, Patricia MacLachlan, Eric A. Kimmel, Gloria Skurzynski, Phillis Gershator, Carol Farley and Teresa Bateman. Nilesh Mistry's black wash illustrations at several per chapter contribute a lively imaginative air to the tales by drawing on the origins of the stories. The collection introduces some traditional motifs and characteristics of dragons and would make a good read-aloud choice to middle elementary-age children and their families, as well as a good companion to the many single tale picture book treatments of dragons, east or west. 2002, Cricket Books,
— Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Fifteen stories about the ever-popular legendary creatures, many written by well-known and prolific authors such as Jane Yolen and Patricia MacLachlan. Readers will find many traditional folkloric themes involving loyalty, tests, and riddles. They'll also find some strong female characters, like the title character in Joan Hiatt Harlow's "Si-Ling and the Dragon," who overcomes the elders' view that girls aren't fit to rule a kingdom. A few stories are comic, like Teresa Bateman's short tale about waiting for a white knight-but is it really a princess who's waiting? And to do what? All of the stories were first published in Cricket, with the exception of E. Nesbit's delightful "The Last of the Dragons," which is the oldest (and freshest) of the bunch. A few of the selections are based on folktales, and Hildi Kang's retelling of "The Black Dragon Princess" seems to be based on historical fact, but there are no source notes. Overall, the writing is smooth and the black-and-white illustrations are skillfully done, with especially graceful line work. However, libraries that already own Michael Hague's distinctive The Book of Dragons (Morrow, 1995) might consider this a worthwhile but not essential purchase.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Carus's (911: The Book of Help, p. 950, etc.) storytellers draw motifs from traditional folklore wrapped around fiery dragons that are more enchanting than menacing. Each of the 15 tales comes from Japan, China, the Ukraine, Korea, or other exotic settings. There are tales featuring an unlikely shepherd lad outwitting a fiery dragon to save a kingdom; a fair maiden nursing a dragon's child back to health and negotiating the sacrifice of fish to appease the dragon and save a village; soldiers that gamble with a dragon for seven years of safety in return for the challenge to uncover the answer to three riddles; and a "left-over" dragon who finds a family and a name when he finds a baby in the woods. Carus chooses work (much of it first published in Cricket magazine) from notable authors such as Eric A. Kimmel, Gloria Skurzynski, and Jane Yolen, who know how to craft a story. The black-and-white illustrations, several full-page, are detailed and attempt to evoke the culture of each tale. The familiar motifs, exotic settings, and protagonists that demonstrate courage, cleverness, resourcefulness, and compassion make this collection one that will entertain and feed minds and the desire for dragons of all those who read or hear these tales. (Short stories. 9-12)

Product Details

Cricket Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
7.42(w) x 9.18(h) x 0.72(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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