THE SONS OF THE DRAGON KING by Ed Young

THE SONS OF THE DRAGON KING

A Chinese Legend
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The illustrations outshine the story in this traditional Chinese tale of how the Dragon King helps each of his nine sons find a way to exploit his personal attributes to the overall benefit of the people. The wise Dragon King recognizes that, while undisciplined indulgence is destructive, each son can use his individual talent for good; thus the strong one holds up roofs, the loud one aids musicians, the swimmer protects travelers by water, and so on. Young depicts each son in an expressive ink wash, the loose brushstrokes full of movement and humor. Against these paintings, he renders the iconographic devices used in Chinese art and architecture in delicately cut inked paper set against an off-white fabric background. As an exploration of the intersection of art and legend, it is perfectly lovely. As a story, however, it leaves rather a lot to be desired, devolving into a recitation of each son’s talent—and there are nine of them, remember—and its use rather than describing a satisfying narrative arc. Terrific in conjunction with an art program—less successful as a story on its own. (author’s note) (Picture book/folklore. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-689-85184-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2004




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