Rabbit and the Dragon King: Based on a Korean Folk Tale

Overview


The dragon rules the ocean deep and all its creatures. He is a great king - but an even greater hypochondriac. Though his physician can find neither cause nor cure for his latest ailment, the king believes he is not long for this world. "Here we go again," says the queen. After consulting with his court magician, the king is convinced that eating the heart of a rabbit will cure what ails him. Turtle volunteers to swim ashore and trick a rabbit into visiting the undersea palace. When the rabbit comes face-to-face...
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Overview


The dragon rules the ocean deep and all its creatures. He is a great king - but an even greater hypochondriac. Though his physician can find neither cause nor cure for his latest ailment, the king believes he is not long for this world. "Here we go again," says the queen. After consulting with his court magician, the king is convinced that eating the heart of a rabbit will cure what ails him. Turtle volunteers to swim ashore and trick a rabbit into visiting the undersea palace. When the rabbit comes face-to-face with the dragon king and learns her fate, she shows that she has a few tricks of her own. Daniel San Souci's splendid retelling finds new riches in an ancient tale that was recorded as early as A.D. 642 during Korea's Shila Dynasty. Eujin Kim Neilan's breathtaking paintings depict a magical, underwater world, where dragons and turtles and rabbits mingle on the ocean floor. From the author and illustrator of In the Moonlight Mist comes a stunning new version of one of the best-loved folk-tales of Korea.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As they did with In the Moonlight Mist, Daniel San Souci and illustrator Eujin Kim Neilan team up for another retelling of a Korean folktale, The Rabbit and the Dragon King. Here, a hypochondriacal king is convinced that eating a rabbit's heart will cure his fatal illness. But the rabbit doesn't want to die, either, and his clever ploy not only saves his life, it makes the king believe he has cheated death.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-San Souci's adaptation of this traditional Korean tale is more elaborate than the spare version in Suzanne Crowder Han's The Rabbit's Escape (Holt, 1995; o.p.). Her tale is also more faithful to its roots, with the Dragon King requiring the rabbit's liver for his cure. Here it is the rabbit's heart that he must have in order to survive. The story's wordy setup includes a joking reference to yet another strain of folklore as the turtle volunteers to lure the rabbit undersea. "I am- the only creature here who even knows what a rabbit looks like, seeing how it was my grandfather who beat one in a race many years ago!" Neilan melds Eastern and Western elements in her deep-hued paintings of the watery kingdom. At the outset the impressive Dragon King has Asian features, though later he sometimes resembles a Mardi Gras character. Both author and illustrator add humorous innuendo and bits of drama as the turtle sets out on his search and then persuades the rabbit to be taken to the bottom of the sea. The story survives its slow beginning, building nicely as the rabbit embarks on the underwater journey as adventure and then reaches the understanding that she is expected to die for the cause. Her final ploy will remind children of other familiar trickster tales, and storytellers will find attractive material in the repartee, the scheme of events, and the three sturdy characters.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The author and artist of In the Moonlight Mist (1999) once again combine their considerable talents to the retelling of a Korean tale. The mystery of an underwater world, an all-powerful Dragon King, and the cunning trickery of Rabbit combine with luminescent paintings to tell the story of a discontented rabbit and of the Dragon King who becomes convinced that his health will be restored only when he eats a rabbit’s heart. The faithful turtle is sent to land to bring a rabbit that will sacrifice his heart for the well-being of the king. Magic helps the rabbit breathe underwater, but once Rabbit realizes the reason for his journey, he convinces the King that he has left his heart on land, hidden in a secret place. Allowed to return to land for the purpose of retrieving his heart to send back to the King, Rabbit instead sends back a piece of fruit from the persimmon tree. Nevertheless, the King swallows what he thinks is the Rabbit’s heart and is brought to full recovery. Back on land, with his heart intact, Rabbit enjoys a new level of contentment with his life as it is. Blues, greens, purples, and bursts of reds and yellows create a sometimes scary underground world inhabited by dragons, turtles, and undersea creatures. Some of the subtleties of the tale will be lost on the youngest of readers but as a read-aloud, this will enchant primary-age readers and engage older readers who will delight in Rabbit’s cleverness. (Picture book/folklore. 6-11)
From the Publisher

"Will enchant primary-age readers and engage older readers who will delight in Rabbit's cleverness." --Kirkus Reviews

"This story would fill a need for Korean stories, but the main reasons to purchase it are its delightful prose and beautiful illustrations." --Library Media Connection

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590784181
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,002,100
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Daniel San Souci has written and illustrated more than forty children's books and illustrated several books written by his brother, Robert San Souci, including The Legend of Scarface, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated Picture Book. He lives in San Francisco.

Eujin Kim Neilan is the illustrator of The Best Winds, by Laura E. Williams, and In the Moonlight Mist: A Korean Tale, retold by Daniel San Souci. She lives in Natick, Massachusetts.

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