The Boy from the Dragon Palace: A Folktale from Japan

The Boy from the Dragon Palace: A Folktale from Japan

by Margaret Read MacDonald, Sachiko Yoshikawa
     
 

One day, a poor flower sellers drops his leftover flowers into the sea as a gift for the Dragon King. What does he get in return? A little snot-nosed boy—with the power to grant wishes! Soon the flower seller is rich, but when he forgets the meaning of "thank you," he loses everything once again. "You just can't help some humans," say the snot-nosed little boy

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Overview

One day, a poor flower sellers drops his leftover flowers into the sea as a gift for the Dragon King. What does he get in return? A little snot-nosed boy—with the power to grant wishes! Soon the flower seller is rich, but when he forgets the meaning of "thank you," he loses everything once again. "You just can't help some humans," say the snot-nosed little boy and the Dragon King.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
MacDonald's (How Many Donkeys?) version of this Japanese folktale offers minor grossness and big laughs, with a moral tossed in; Yoshikawa's (The Last Day of Kindergarten) digitally enhanced watercolors, correspondingly, go for humor over elegance. A flower seller's gift from the Dragon King beneath the sea is a runny-nosed boy who only eats one thing: "ou must make shrimp for him every day," the boy's chaperone directs. "Put in vinegar. Put in sugar. He likes it like that." Like the magic flounder in the Grimm Brothers' tale, the boy has the power to grant wishes, but the flower seller is too ungrateful to enjoy his new palace and servants, and too annoyed by the boy's horrible nose-blowing and demanding diet to tolerate him for very long: "Go on back to the sea where you belong," he says. Readers will be ready for the flower seller's comeuppance and the sorrowful clucking of the snot-nosed boy back at home under the sea: "You just can't help some humans," he says. Perhaps, the tale suggests, even great wealth is not free of annoyances. Ages 4–7. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3—When a poor flower-seller throws his flowers into the sea where the Dragon King lives, he is given the opportunity to have wealth and happiness. The Dragon King hands him a snot-nosed boy and tells him that his luck will change if feeds the child the same dish every day. But as is human nature, especially in folktales, the flower-seller soon becomes greedy, ungrateful, and disgusted with the child, and just as quickly as his riches have appeared, they're gone. The author's choice of words, her syntax, and timing give the story an easy, natural flow. Repetitive phrasing, "Slurrrp! Snuffle, snuffle! Hnnnk! Hnnnk! Hnnnk!" provides outstanding sound effects and invites listeners to assist with the telling. MacDonald cites the source of this traditional tale and gives more details in an author's note. Digitally enhanced collage and watercolor artwork gives the story cultural identity. Emotions and actions are easily read in the pictures. The snot-nosed boy is at the same time cute and disgusting with his dirty round face. Color changes from dark to bright mark the flower-seller's transition from rags to riches and back again. The simplicity of both the text and the illustrations makes this an excellent choice for storytimes and sharing one-on-one.—Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619131101
Publisher:
Weigl Publishers, Incorporated
Publication date:
08/28/2012
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.80(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Margaret Read MacDonald loves folktales, and whe travels the world telling wonderful stories and teaching others how to share them. Her most recent book, How Many Donkeys? An Arabic Counting Tale won the Best Foreign Children's Book Award at the 2010 Sharjah International Book Fair. She lives in Seattle, Washington. margaretreadmacdonald.com

Sachiko Yoshikawa moved to the United States from Japan in 1988 to study art. Much of her work has been inspired by living and traveling in the United States and abroad. She has lived in Tokyo, California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington and currently, in Wisconsin. She has also lived in Uganda, in East Africa, where she had a group show with local artists at the Uganda National Museum. She has illustrated numerous books for young readers, such as Beach is to Fun, (named Best Children's book of the Year by the Bank Street College of Education) and What is Science? (a finalist in the Children's Science Picture Book category of the 2007 SB&F Prize). studiosachiko.com

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