The Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty and the Beast Tale


When a poor farmer falls into the clutches of a dragon, only Seven, his youngest daughter, will save him—by marrying the beast.
Publishers Weekly praised "Yep's elegant, carefully crafted storytelling" and Mak's "skillfully and radiantly rendered illustrations" in this captivating and luminous Chinese variation of the beauty and the beast tale.

A 1998 Notable Children's Trade...

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When a poor farmer falls into the clutches of a dragon, only Seven, his youngest daughter, will save him—by marrying the beast.
Publishers Weekly praised "Yep's elegant, carefully crafted storytelling" and Mak's "skillfully and radiantly rendered illustrations" in this captivating and luminous Chinese variation of the beauty and the beast tale.

A 1998 Notable Children's Trade Book in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)
A 1997 Pick of the Lists (ABA)

A poor farmer's youngest daughter agrees to marry a fierce dragon in order to save her father's life.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"This Southern Chinese adaptation of a traditional Chinese tale gains notability through Yep's elegant, carefully crafted storytelling," said PW. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Seven, the seventh and youngest daughter of a poor old farmer, has a kind and gentle heart. When the serpent she saves from her family's fields returns as a magical dragon, she willingly agrees to marry him to save her father's life. After the dragon transforms himself into a handsome prince, wicked sister Three puts a crimp in the happiness of the young couple until the prince recognizes the importance of true inner beauty. This Chinese variant on the classic French fairytale comes to life through the delightful images of an irresistible dragon and his kingdom beneath the sea.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5Yep presents a polished, touching retelling of a story he calls "a Southern Chinese version of a traditional Chinese tale." When a poor farmer falls into the clutches of a dragon, he begs each of his seven daughters to save him from death by marrying the horrifying creature. At last, the youngest consents. The dragon carries Seven (the daughters are named in birth order, following Chinese tradition) to his home under the sea. Far from being frightened, Seven is full of wonder. When she tells the dragon, "The eye sees what it will, but the heart sees what it should," the monster turns into a handsome prince. They live happily until Seven longs to return home. There, her jealous third sister tries to drown her and takes her place as mistress of the dragon's palace. Then the Prince must go searching for his lost bride. Lavish, hyperrealistic paintings appear opposite each page of text, with two wordless double-page spreads interspersed. However, few of the paintings begin to capture the shivery wonder of the narrative. Most are too literal to illuminate the mood of the story, and leave little scope for the imagination. In the version included in Betsy Hearne's Beauties and Beasts (Oryx, 1993), the monster bridegroom is a snake. Here, the snake transforms itself into a dragon, increasing the excitement and danger. Still, Yep's version of this romantic adventure celebrates resilience and understanding.Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA
Kirkus Reviews
The subtitle says all: A dragon ambushes a poor farmer and promises to eat the unfortunate man unless one of the farmer's seven daughters marries him. Six daughters run away in fear, but Seven can't bear to see her father suffer and consents to marry the dragon. Seven is not afraid of the dragon; she finds him beautiful and tells him so. At that the dragon transforms into a handsome prince and the two are very happy together until Seven begins to grow homesick. During a visit to her family, her real troubles begin—one of her sisters is jealous of Seven's match. She gets rid of Seven and returns to the prince in her sister's place, but the prince's heart is not fooled. Yep tells the tale with colorful descriptions and repeated refrains, while Mak's splendid, realistic paintings, in dark jewel tones bordered with white, extend the text elegantly—the scene of the dragon flying over Chinese tile roofs is especially beautiful.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064435185
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 462,315
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurence Yep is the acclaimed author of more than sixty books for young people and a winner of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award. His illustrious list of novels includes the Newbery Honor Books Dragonwings and Dragon's Gate; The Earth Dragon Awakes: The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, a Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee; and The Dragon's Child: A Story of Angel Island, which he cowrote with his niece, Dr. Kathleen S. Yep, and was named a New York Public Library's "One Hundred Titles for Reading and Sharing" and a Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book.

Mr. Yep grew up in San Francisco, where he was born. He attended Marquette University, graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and received his PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He lives in Pacific Grove, California, with his wife, the writer Joanne Ryder.

Kam Mak grew up in New York City's Chinatown. He earned his bachelor of fine arts degree from the School of Visual Arts, and since then he has illustrated book jackets for numerous publishers and taught painting at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

He has also illustrated The Moon of the Monarch Butterflies by Jean Craighead George, The Year of the Panda by Miriam Schlein, and The Dragon Prince by Laurence Yep. Ham Mak lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and daughter.

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