K-Gr 3-Seven Chinese sisters, each with her own unique talent, live together happily in the countryside until one day a hungry dragon smells Sixth Sister's noodle soup and comes to investigate. Instead of a bowl of soup, he snatches Seventh Sister, a baby who doesn't yet talk, for his dinner. The other girls are off to the rescue, using their various skills, which, unlike the brothers in Margaret Mahy's retelling of the tale (Scholastic, 1989), are mostly down to earth-riding a scooter like the wind, talking to dogs, counting to 500 or higher, and so forth. They rescue the baby and promise to bring some soup to the starving beast the next day. This anemic-looking dragon isn't what you would usually find in a story set in China where most dragons are magnificent creatures that symbolize good luck and prosperity. Lin's bright and colorful illustrations add liveliness to the story. The seven siblings, in their dark-blue, patterned dresses, look docile in some scenes, assertive in others. Certainly they will keep this particular dragon in his place.-Barbara Scotto, Michael Driscoll School, Brookline, MA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
It was bound to happen in this era of feminized folk tales: a regendered version of what the blurb calls "a classic Chinese folk tale," though the only thing this has in common with the classic is the number of protagonists. The Seven Chinese sisters live together and take care of each other and each one has a special talent. First Sister could ride a scooter fast as the wind; Second Sister knows karate; Third Sister could count to 500 and beyond; Fourth Sister could talk to dogs; Fifth Sister could catch any ball; Sixth Sister could cook the most delicious noodle soup; and the Seventh Sister--well, they don’t know yet because she is so little and hasn’t spoken one word. When a terrible dragon smells Sixth Sister’s noodle soup, he flies straight to the Sisters’ house and snatches Seventh Sister, who is crawling on the floor. She utters her first word, "HELP," and all of the sisters use their talents to rescue her, returning home to eat the delicious soup. The dragon took Seventh Sister because he’s hungry--in fact starving--and the girls promise to return the next day with soup for him. The saturated colors of their blue dresses, green trees, and the red scooter and dragon create sufficient tension for the story and keep pace with the liveliness of the action. There’s a playfulness in the text as well as when Fourth Sister talks to the dragon in dog language. An entertaining feminist twist not to be confused with the original, this has strong female protagonists to help balance the rather strained story. (Folktale. 5-8)