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River Dragon

River Dragon

by Darcy Pattison, Jean Tseng (Illustrator), Mou-Sien Tseng (Illustrator)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Drawing on elements of Chinese dragon lore, Pattison injects this bang-up original folktale with a ring of authenticity. Her story is presented in the traditional ``trial'' form: Ying Shao, a humble blacksmith, must cross the river dragon's bridge on three consecutive nights in order to see his betrothed. Ying Shao's sly father-in-law- to-be, not at all thrilled with the upcoming nuptials, feeds the youth swallows in every way, shape and form (everyone knows dragons adore swallows) in hopes the dragon will devour him on the way home. Aided by helpful hints tucked in fortune cookies, however, Ying Shao manages to outwit the beast each time, and in a final, mighty confrontation, destroys him. Pattison writes with confidence and grace, her smashing debut buoyed by the Tsengs' ( The Seven Chinese Brothers ) luminous watercolors, which feature amusingly expressive characters and a truly monstrous dragon. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-- Pattison has written a passable pseudofolktale containing one flaw. Ying Shao is engaged to the goldsmith's daughter, and because the goldsmith now objects to the marriage (but can't stop it at this late date), he invites the young man to dinner three nights in a row. Knowing that Ying Shao will return home over a bridge under which the River Dragon dwells, the goldsmith serves the dragon's favorite dish--swallows--and Ying Shao eats them to be polite. He must then outwit the River Dragon or it will smell the swallows on his breath and eat him. Pattison's prose is adequate and her details (mostly) correct. The illustrations, done in ink and watercolor, are bright and interesting and reflect a variety of periods of Chinese history and dress. They are well suited to the tone of the book, and the dragon is beautiful and appropriately menacing. The one problem with the story is that Ying Shao is able to outwit the dragon at the end of each banquet because of a clue he finds in his fortune cookie. The fortune cookie is an American invention and has no place in anything purporting to be Asian folklore, albeit ``original'' folklore. This conclusion, with no reference to its modern Western origin, by an author who obviously did her homework on dragons, is surprising, to say the least. --JoAnn Rees, Sunnyvale Public Library, CA

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
11.24(w) x 9.36(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
5 - 7 Years

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