Jan 22, 2012

The Dragon Prince

The Dragon Prince by Laurence Yep
Illustrated by Kam Mak
Published by Harper Collins

     It's the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon, so to celebrate it, we read The Dragon Prince.
     A poor chinese farmer is captured by a dragon who will eat him unless one of the farmer's daughters agrees to marry him.  One by one, each of the daughters comes to where the dragon is holding the farmer, but all of them run away scared.  All except for Seven, the youngest of his daughters.  Seven agrees to marry the dragon, who takes her on his back and soars "over the hills and mountains, past deserts and seas, on and on, until the sleeping world became a ball of dark velvet and the lakes silvery sequins."  The dragon takes Seven to a palace underwater.  There, Seven sees beyond the outward appearance of the dragon and falls in love.  The Dragon realizes he has finally found his match and turns into a handsome prince.
     The Dragon Prince is a chinese version of the Beauty and the Beast.  The story gets a bit clunky when Seven heads back to see her family and her jealous sister Three pushes her into a river to try to take her place. But overall, it's quite entertaining with lyrical language and breathtaking illustrations by Mak.  A good choice to have some comparative lit discussions in the classroom and to welcome the Year of the Dragon.

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