There was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight
by Penny Parker Klostermann, illustrated by Ben Mantle
Random House, 2015
A hilarious dragon story with fun, read-aloud rhymes.
When an old, greedy dragon swallows a knight, the reader learns, “It’s not polite.” Then the dragon swallows a steed, then swallows a squire, then swallows a cook. Soon he has swallowed practically a whole castle of people—and the castle—and the moat! Like in the story, The House That Jack Built, every time he swallows something, the rhyme grows longer and funnier. Great repetition and fun. The illustrations contain dozens of laughable subtleties that add to the humor.
Adults and children who appreciate good rhyme, will love how this story keeps the pages tuning.
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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin
Lee & Low, 2009
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is one of those rich tales, which pulls in the reader and keeps the pages turning. Through her tale of a young girl free of real-life cultural limitations, author Grace Lin weaves together the quietness of the Chinese culture with some boldness of the American culture. The story works on many levels, with all the main characters growing from the experience. I read the book twice and learned just as much the second time.
Though her hard-working family is poor, Minli is happy and enjoys her life. Her dad tells her stories each evening to entertain her daughter. But her mother keeps complaining about how little they have. One day spirited Minli sets off to find the Old Man of the Moon who will tell her how she can change their fortune. She soon meets up with a dragon and they travel together. They meet several ‘impossible’ challenges along the way, but each time they keep their heart open and find a way around or through the obstacle.
Ms. Lin sprinkles in numerous mini ‘tales’ to give background and, often, clues about each challenge Minli faces. Not seen often in children’s books, she inserts how Minli’s disappearance impacts her parents, gently capturing what they are learning and how it supports what Minli is learning.
Brilliantly written. An engaging story.
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