Sons Of The Dragon King: A Chinese Legend

Sons Of The Dragon King: A Chinese Legend

by Ed Young
     
 

"Behavior not befitting the son of the Dragon King!"
The Dragon King has sent his nine sons out to find their places in the world, but rumors abound — each son is apparently as aimless as the next! One son does nothing but stare into space, another spends his day frolicking in a stream, another plays with fire, and still another hollers and yells

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Overview

"Behavior not befitting the son of the Dragon King!"
The Dragon King has sent his nine sons out to find their places in the world, but rumors abound — each son is apparently as aimless as the next! One son does nothing but stare into space, another spends his day frolicking in a stream, another plays with fire, and still another hollers and yells from noon till night. The king realizes it's time to visit each son to see if the rumors are true. What he finds surprises him, for each son has a very special gift that continues to serve and enrich China's culture to this very day.
Two-time Caldecott winner Ed Young brings us a legend of a very special parent recognizing the potential in his very special children, and in doing so, shows how a simple folktale shaped a visible part of Chinese culture.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Caldecott Medalist Young delivers some of his most exciting illustrations since Lon Po Po in this traditional Chinese tale about a Dragon King with nine sons. Unsettling rumors about his sons reach the Dragon King: one is said to be extraordinarily lazy, another to make "monstrous noises" all day long, and none acts as "befit[s] the son of a king" (children will quickly recognize most of these criticisms). Surreptitiously traveling to each of his progeny, the Dragon King quietly witnesses the various unseemly behaviors and then, wisely, sees in each a virtue that can help serve the kingdom. For example, Ba-Sha, who spends all his time swimming, delightedly accepts his father's suggestion that he oversee water safety. Even today, as facing text explains, whenever a son discovers his strength, the sons' roles remain visible in Chinese culture (Ba-Sha's face adorns bridges). Beyond its value in exploring Chinese imagery and myth, the book demonstrates simply and accessibly that even the most idle-seeming "talent" can be put to good use. Young's exceptionally deft and energetic illustrations of the sons animate the text. Rendered with ink and brush, these surprisingly funny dragons seem almost to move on the page (the maker of "monstrous noises" sings full-out, almost like an opera singer). More formal cut-paper pictures of the nine sons' images, in their traditional symbolic uses, balance the brushwork. With a design as elegant and lively as the prose is clear, this book is a welcome addition to the folktale shelf. Ages 5-8. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-According to legend, the Dragon King had nine sons who, after leaving their father's house, seemed to be aimlessly frittering away their days. When the king goes to investigate, he discovers that what appears to be frivolity or laziness is masking a unique talent, and he helps each son to employ his talent productively. For example, because the second son, Chi Wen, constantly stares intently into the distance, he becomes a sentinel. Young then goes on to describe how that young man and his talent are still symbolically reflected in Chinese art and architecture. "And to this day, Chi Wen may still be found at the tops of buildings, a sentinel searching the distance for potential danger." The text is engrossing and includes an informative author's note. The illustrations, rendered in brush, ink, and cut paper, use softly smudged lines for the part of the story focused on the legend, and sharper, cleaner lines augmented by a minimal but dramatically effective use of color for the present-day segments. This elegant addition to folklore shelves should be a first purchase for most libraries.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The illustrations outshine the story in this traditional Chinese tale of how the Dragon King helps each of his nine sons find a way to exploit his personal attributes to the overall benefit of the people. The wise Dragon King recognizes that, while undisciplined indulgence is destructive, each son can use his individual talent for good; thus the strong one holds up roofs, the loud one aids musicians, the swimmer protects travelers by water, and so on. Young depicts each son in an expressive ink wash, the loose brushstrokes full of movement and humor. Against these paintings, he renders the iconographic devices used in Chinese art and architecture in delicately cut inked paper set against an off-white fabric background. As an exploration of the intersection of art and legend, it is perfectly lovely. As a story, however, it leaves rather a lot to be desired, devolving into a recitation of each son's talent-and there are nine of them, remember-and its use rather than describing a satisfying narrative arc. Terrific in conjunction with an art program-less successful as a story on its own. (author's note) (Picture book/folklore. 6-10)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689851841
Publisher:
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
05/01/2004
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,331,594
Product dimensions:
11.48(w) x 10.12(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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