SILK PEONY, PARADE DRAGON by Elizabeth Steckman


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 6
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 Mrs. Ming is proprietress of a dragon farm somewhere in China's imperial past. One day a rude and scornful mandarin arrives, hoping to rent a dragon cheaply to lead the New Year's parade. He spits decisively on the ground in response to small flaws in the first six dragons Mrs. Ming shows him. The seventh, Silk Peony, is perfect, but the mandarin finds fault with her, too- -she is female. Eventually, the mandarin rents her, but only after haggling with Mrs. Ming over the price. She drives a hard bargain, and when the mandarin later tries to renege, Mrs. Ming calls upon Silk Peony's magical powers to exact money from him. Inouye's magnificent watercolor and gouache illustrations of dragons gliding across bare white backgrounds don't quite compensate for the fairly flat story in which goodness and humility triumph easily over deceitful arrogance. There's no tension--the mandarin never has a chance--and it's a weak finish that Mrs. Ming, who achieves success throughout the book by her own words and care, must rely on magic to obtain her fee. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 1-56397-233-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1997