Pet Dragon: A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters by Christoph Niemann, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Pet Dragon: A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters

Pet Dragon: A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters

by Christoph Niemann
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Meet Lin and her pet dragon!

When the dragon mysteriously disappears, Lin sets off on a journey to find her best friend . . . and readers set off on a journey of learning and discovery.

By ingeniously integrating written Chinese characters into the illustrations as the story progresses, Christoph Niemann has created a book that is engrossing, unique, and

Overview

Meet Lin and her pet dragon!

When the dragon mysteriously disappears, Lin sets off on a journey to find her best friend . . . and readers set off on a journey of learning and discovery.

By ingeniously integrating written Chinese characters into the illustrations as the story progresses, Christoph Niemann has created a book that is engrossing, unique, and memorable. The Pet Dragon is a playful introduction to the fascinating world of Chinese language and culture . . . and a terrific story to share with children everywhere.

You are invited to join Lin for an adventure you will not soon forget!

Editorial Reviews

Julie Just
…[a] playful homage to the Chinese language
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Niemann (The Police Cloud) introduces readers to 33 Chinese characters via an ingenious, breezy tale about a spunky heroine named Lin who's searching for her runaway pet dragon. Throughout Lin's quest, Niemann superimposes bold, black Chinese characters over key images or other elements in his super-smooth digital graphics. When Lin herself is introduced, for example, the character for "person" is overlaid on her figure, allowing readers to see how it evokes the outline of a body and two legs. Unlike authors of conventional primers, Niemann doesn't try to directly incorporate the special vocabulary into his story (the text doesn't refer to Lin as a "person"). Nor does he adhere to the expected icon-to-object correspondence every time: as he notes in his genial introduction, some of the match-ups reflect his own imagination at play (the character for "work" takes the shape of an I-beam at a construction site). As a result, the pages reflect not only Niemann's cleverness, but also his sense of discovery and his enthusiasm. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Susan Treadway M.Ed
Lin is given a baby dragon as a gift. She is elated to share everything with her new friend until an old vase breaks as they play soccer. Lin's father put the dragon in a cage, but by morning it had escaped! Lin is determined to find her best friend no matter where the search takes her. She walks around the city, over the mountains and beyond the Great Wall. Finally, Lin comes to a wide river where a witch agrees to help. A magic bean causes the witch to grow as tall as a mountain so she can lift Lin through the clouds. Suddenly, she sees her grown-up pet with other dragons close by. Her best friend then flies Lin back home and the family celebrates. Lin is so happy now that her father promised they can play together whenever they want. This is a splendid instructional tool for beginners learning Chinese and about Asian culture in general. In addition, the gentle tale can lead to sensitive discussions about a special friend, losing that friend, and how to be reunited. A simple, muted color palate is used throughout the story with dominating red tones that connect to the dragon theme. Appropriate Chinese language characters are placed directly into key illustrations to reinforce aspects of the story with the same character and English word paired at the bottom of the page. Large characters with corresponding illustrations (both in white) are repeated on the facing pages on a solid background. Especially noteworthy is the author's excellent letter written to the reader, which gives rich meaning to the imaginary tale. Even though it begins with very short, basic sentences, successive pages contain lengthier ones with some higher level vocabulary words. Even so, the mystery is worthsolving! Reviewer: Susan Treadway, M.Ed
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

Lin, a young Chinese girl, receives a baby dragon for a gift. The two of them play together until they accidentally break a vase. Lin's father is so angry that he insists the little creature be caged. The dragon escapes, and Lin goes to look for it. With the help of an old woman, a witch, she finds it living with the other dragons in the clouds, and grown up. The dragon returns Lin to her home, and her father agrees that they can visit often. Though the story is thin, the book is clever. Its purpose is to introduce the Chinese language, and it succeeds admirably. Each page contains one or more Chinese characters, which appear not only at the bottom with the English translation, but also superimposed on the drawings. In this way, Niemann emphasizes the connection between the lines of the character and the object it represents. The stylized illustrations are jaunty and appealing, and the use of red, a color representing good fortune in China, visually unifies the tale from beginning to end. Playful and humorous in his approach, Niemann includes some of the icons of Chinese culture, past and present-dragons, the Great Wall, Ping-Pong, and the ever-present giant cranes that are building modern China. Now that Mandarin is becoming a popular language choice in forward-looking communities, this title is sure to please.-Barbara Scotto, Children's Literature New England, Brookline, MA

Kirkus Reviews
After her father banishes her beloved pet dragon to a cage for breaking a vase, it disappears and young Lin must set out across the Chinese landscape in pursuit. Carrying a little lady across the water is a good deed, indeed, for the lady is a witch and facilitates Lin's happy reunion with her dragon friend and her now-happy father. Niemann's striking graphic style showcases his interpretation of Chinese pictographs as an element of the storytelling. Thus Lin climbs over three brown mountain peaks tipped in white, with three bold black lines soaring vertically over the image to represent the pictograph for mountain. There are no traditional delicate brush-strokes on these pages; the typeface is bold and clean. It's an adventure to see the connection between a tree and its pictograph, two trees side by side becoming the woods and three trees together as the forest. Children can trace their fingers over the lines and into other books and resources. Hao shu! Good book! (author's note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061577772
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/26/2008
Edition description:
Bilingual
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 11.80(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD400L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Christoph Niemann is also the creator of the picture books Subway, The Pet Dragon, and The Police Cloud, as well as the blog Abstract City at www.newyorktimes.com. He has illustrated covers for the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and the New York Times Magazine. The artist lives with his family in Berlin, Germany, and New York City.

Christoph Niemann is also the creator of the picture books Subway, The Pet Dragon, and The Police Cloud, as well as the blog Abstract City at www.newyorktimes.com. He has illustrated covers for the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and the New York Times Magazine. The artist lives with his family in Berlin, Germany, and New York City.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >