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THE DRAGON'S PEARL by Julie Lawson


by Julie Lawson & illustrated by Paul Morin

Age Range: 4 - 10

Pub Date: March 22nd, 1993
ISBN: 0-395-63623-X
Publisher: Clarion

In her first US publication, Canadian Lawson draws on Chinese motifs for a gentle tale with the cadence and flavor of folklore. Hard-working Xiao Sheng barely makes a living gathering grass until, during a drought, he finds a miraculously renewed green patch. Hoping to ease his labors, he transplants it to his own dooryard; in so doing, he finds a magical pearl that makes any supply--rice, gold--self-renewing. The boy and his mother are generous with their new wealth; still, two greedy neighbors try to seize it. Xiao Sheng swallows the pearl to protect it; after making him prodigiously thirsty, it transforms him into a magnificent dragon, source of rains that restore the region to prosperity. Morin, as he did for Mollel's much-praised The Orphan Boy (1990), provides stunning illustrations, using closely related hues (mostly of brown, gold, and orange) in luminous oils where thickly applied details cast shadows on a thinly veiled canvas that imparts a subtle texture to the art. A well-told tale, effectively celebrating the benevolent Chinese dragon and set in splendid format. (Picture book. 4-10)