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THE BOY FROM THE DRAGON PALACE by Margaret Read MacDonald Kirkus Star


retold by Margaret Read MacDonald, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8075-7513-0
Publisher: Whitman

This Japanese variant of "The Fisherman and His Wife" features a poor flower seller and a snot-nosed boy.

When no one buys his flowers, a poor flower seller casts them into the sea for the Dragon King, who lives under the water. A beautiful lady rises up from the waves with a boy in her arms as a thank you. She tells the man he will bring him luck IF he makes the boy shrimp every day with vinegar and sugar. Though the little boy has “the snottiest nose you ever did see,” the man takes him home and prepares the shrimp. The boy snuffles it down, blows his nose hard three times—and the floor is covered with gold! The greedy man then wishes for a larger house, servants, a cook, treasure chests and so on, until he has everything he could possibly want. Disgusted with the snot-nosed boy’s blowing, he sends him back to the sea, and, of course, all of the riches disappear. The digitally enhanced, watercolor collage art is typically Japanese in setting, clothing and the wide-eyed (and grubby-faced) boy’s black topknot. The text is nicely repetitive and includes satisfyingly disgusting nose-blowing effects that children will love.

MacDonald’s lively retelling of this folktale is bound to fascinate kids; after all, who can resist a tale with a snot-nosed boy? (source note) (Picture book/folktale. 4-8)