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EAST DRAGON, WEST DRAGON by Robyn Eversole Kirkus Star


by , illustrated by

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-689-85828-4
Publisher: Atheneum

In this variant of "The City Mouse and the Country Mouse," two dragons learn to appreciate each other’s talents and milieus.

Sophisticated East Dragon lives in the emperor’s palace with eight siblings. He dabbles in brush painting; a double-page spread of his family reveals skills ranging from sushi preparation and Kabuki performances to landscaping and storytelling. Whimsical caricatures hint at desktop Zen sand gardens and Pueblo storyteller dolls, anachronisms creating an additional level of enjoyment. West Dragon’s habitat is a “boy cave.” Surrounded by a tricycle, soccer ball, television set and books, he endures regular intrusions by the king’s knights: “Nothing made a cave smell nastier than roast knight.” While the dragons snub each other from their respective corners of the world, truth be told, each fears the other. It isn’t until West Dragon’s plot to distract the bothersome knights backfires, and he nearly drowns at the hand of marauding pirates, that their paths cross. Having just admired his counterpart’s great wingspan and ability to fly, East Dragon swims swiftly to the rescue. All ends very well at a party complete with karaoke, pizza and a piñata. Eversole’s spare narrative mixes tongue-in-cheek exaggeration, childhood fears and adventure, inspiring Campbell to contrast the rough and the refined, designing detailed watercolor worlds brimming with humor and beauty.

This primer on friendship wrapped in hijinks is paced for maximum pleasure. (Picture book. 3-7)