Reviews for Dragon Prince : A Chinese Beauty and the Beast Tale


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 July 1997
Gr. 4^-6, younger for reading aloud. A small, harmless water serpent that is saved from death by a young teen changes into an immense dragon and threatens a poor farmer's life. The farmer's only chance lies in convincing one of his seven daughters to marry the dragon. Readers familiar with fairy tales may guess that the youngest and prettiest daughter, who was the serpent's savior, will agree to the marriage to save her father. In this Chinese variant of "Beauty and the Beast," dragon and girl soar into the night sky and then plunge into a deep sea, where the girl's courage and character are tested again before she discovers that her future husband is a handsome human and ruler of the sea kingdom. After spending some time in her husband's kingdom, she visits her family's home, where both her inner and her outward strength are further tested. Mak's illustrations dramatically combine realism and fantasy. The suspense of the story and the charm of its language should appeal to readers of different ages. A good choice for reading aloud. ((Reviewed July 1997)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

----------------------
Horn Book Guide Reviews 1998
In an old Chinese version of the classic fairy tale, a daughter who is as dutiful as she is talented in embroidery agrees to marry a terrifying dragon. After it turns into the requisite handsome prince, one of Beauty's jealous sisters tries to kill her and take her place, but the dragon-prince knows she's not his wife. Lush, photorealistic paintings match the mood of the story. Copyright 1998 Horn Book Guide Reviews

----------------------
Publishers Weekly Reviews 1997 August #4
For aficionados of the "Beauty and the Beast" theme, this Southern Chinese adaptation of a traditional Chinese tale gains notability through Yep's (Dragonwings) elegant, carefully crafted storytelling. Seven, the seventh and youngest daughter of a poor farmer, consents to marry a dragon in order to save her father's life. The courageous girl soon perceives a strange beauty beneath the dragon's ferocity. Touching his cheek, she says, "I know the loom and stove and many ordinary things, but my hand has never touched wonder." The dragon then dances, "curling his powerful body as easily as a giant golden ribbon" and spins until he becomes "a column of light, and from the light stepped a handsome prince." An original twist involves an attempt by Seven's vindictive sister, Three, to usurp her riches and position. In contrast to Yep's fluent prose, Mak's visual imagery appears disjointed. Incongruously lifelike representations of the characters tend to chafe against the narrative's fantasy elements rather than ushering readers through the magical journey. Although skillfully and radiantly rendered (especially one painting of the dragon's watery home, with fish and kelp in the foreground), the illustrations adorn rather than enrich this alluring tale. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

----------------------
School Library Journal Reviews 1997 October
Yep presents a polished, touching retelling of a story he calls "a Southern Chinese version of a traditional Chinese tale." When a poor farmer falls into the clutches of a dragon, he begs each of his seven daughters to save him from death by marrying the horrifying creature. At last, the youngest consents. The dragon carries Seven (the daughters are named in birth order, following Chinese tradition) to his home under the sea. Far from being frightened, Seven is full of wonder. When she tells the dragon, "The eye sees what it will, but the heart sees what it should," the monster turns into a handsome prince. They live happily until Seven longs to return home. There, her jealous third sister tries to drown her and takes her place as mistress of the dragon's palace. Then the Prince must go searching for his lost bride. Lavish, hyperrealistic paintings appear opposite each page of text, with two wordless double-page spreads interspersed. However, few of the paintings begin to capture the shivery wonder of the narrative. Most are too literal to illuminate the mood of the story, and leave little scope for the imagination. In the version included in Betsy Hearne's Beauties and Beasts (Oryx, 1993), the monster bridegroom is a snake. Here, the snake transforms itself into a dragon, increasing the excitement and danger. Still, Yep's version of this romantic adventure celebrates resilience and understanding. Margaret A. Chang, North Adams State College, MA Copyright 1998 School Library Journal Reviews

----------------------