THE PAPER DRAGON by Marguerite W. Davol


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From Davol (Batwings and the Curtain of Night, p. 379, etc.), an ambitious folk tale set in China. Humble Mi Fei is an artist, painting scenes of gods and heroes, and content to live in the small village where he is always ready to stop work and listen to the tales of his neighbors. One day his peaceful life is shattered when the great dragon of Lung Mountain awakens from sleep, destroying crops and ruining villages, and Mi Fei is chosen to appease it. The dragon assigns Mi Fei three seemingly impossible tasks: to bring fire wrapped in paper (he fashions a paper lantern), to bring wind wrapped in paper (he folds a fan), and to bring the strongest thing in the world--wrapped in paper. Mi Fei struggles over this last one, but paints a scene of his village and delivers the message to the dragon that love is stronger than everything. Sabuda's illustrations are endlessly inventive; the forms of clothing, dragon, plants, and trees are portrayed in painted tissue-paper collages affixed to Japanese papers; the faces of the figures are expertly painted, using economical brush strokes that express the personalities of the people Mi Fei so loves. The right-hand page of every scene is a gatefold, making each picture a triple-page horizontal spread--sometimes Mi Fei is within the scene, sometimes he is creating it. It all comes together in a vibrant and surprising work.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0689319924
Page count: 60pp
Publisher: Atheneum