The Dragon Prince

The Dragon Prince

by Laurence Yep

illustrated by Kam Mak

New York: Harpercollins, 1997

29 pp

Age: 4+

Interests: dragons, China, Magic, fairy tale, siblings


A retelling and meshing together of several Chinese legends, this is basically a ‘beauty and the beast’ tale. A dragon menaces a farmer, demanding one of his daughters in return for his freedom. Only the youngest of seven daughters is brave enough to go with the dragon. Her courage and love allow the dragon to resume his true form, as a handsome prince, and she lives happily with him. After a while, however, she becomes homesick. She returns to visit her family and is nearly done in by the treachery of a jealous sister, who attempts to take her place with the dragon prince. After much searching the prince finds his missing bride living in a humble cottage and they return to their home beneath the sea.

A familiar tale of the youngest, more virtuous daughter vs. an older jealous sister. The attempt by one sister to murder another is a little startling. It is noteworthy, however, that no revenge is taken upon the bad sister when the prince rediscovers his bride – which certainly marks this story as a modern retelling!

The gorgeous illustrations are at once fantastical – especially the glowing, ornate dragon – and quietly everyday – the scenes in the home, the simple moments between people. The successful and sometimes startling marriage of these two elements successfully brings the story to life and carries the magical right into the real world. (For example: at the feet of the sad daughter working on her embroidery is one of those very familiar red pin cushions that are in every shop in every Chinatown in the world today!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(This title on amazon.)

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.
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