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THE MINSTREL AND THE DRAGON PUP by Rosemary Sutcliff

THE MINSTREL AND THE DRAGON PUP

By Rosemary Sutcliff (Author) , Emma Chichester Clark (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0744582598
Publisher: Candlewick

Beginning with the great historical novelist's charmingly logical introduction--where she explains how a dragon's egg happens to be hatching on the beach--her "first picture book" is a poignant reminder of how much she'll be missed. The kitten- sized dragon--with "two little flapping things rather like small damp kid gloves that were the promise of wings...and a round pink stomach"--has no mother to teach him to be fierce, so he's perfectly happy to be adopted by the minstrel. He grows neither fast nor large, has a temper "as sweet as an apple," and deserves the name of "Lucky." When he's kidnapped by a greedy showman, the grieving minstrel tracks him down, finding him caged among other mythical creatures in the king's collection; and since the minstrel is able to earn a reward by curing the king's ill son with a song, all ends well. The love story is touching, but it's the telling that's most marvelous here--the wryly affectionate characterizations, lucid, imaginative descriptions, and graceful cadence. Complementing the story without upstaging it, Clark matches Sutcliff's delicately elegiac tone with mannered paintings in dusky shades of mauve, rose, and turquoise, elegantly bordered in marbled black--at once tender (the dragon pup is dear) and sumptuous. A generously long tale that will be treasured by anyone who warms to grand storytelling. (Fiction/Picture book. 5+)