When a selfish, self-important king hears a story from a traveler about ancient, singing dragons and is told they may not all be gone, the king announces that he must have one.
He promises a room full of gold to any who will bring him a dragon. No one can, and the king is furious. A girl named Alina, who lives alone, remembers her grandmother’s stories and songs and vows to find the dragons. King and townspeople ridicule her, but she perseveres and, after an arduous quest, finds the beauteous dragons and their song. She knows, however, what the king will do if she reveals the dragons to him, so she submits to further mockery when she returns and says she could not find them. She keeps to herself a silver dragon scale to hold the memory. The full-spread, full-bleed acrylic-on-board paintings are rich in texture, and Alina’s wild red hair glows like the dragons should. The dragons themselves are more winged dinosaur than fae, however, and don’t really conjure creatures that sing and dance. Although the story is a bit truncated and does not flow smoothly, its sweet lesson of the value of art and life over a room full of gold is a lovely one.
This original fairy tale succeeds as a fable, if not quite so well as a story. (Picture book. 5-8)