Reviews for Year of the Dragon : Tales from the Chinese Zodiac

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
Unable to paddle a boat effectively, young dragon Dom and Bo, a boy, are discouraged when they can't enter the big boat race. After Dom notices "he shared many of his pals' qualities," he, Bo, and the other Chinese zodiac animals figure out a way to compete and win--"by a nose!" The illogical and message-heavy story is buoyed somewhat by cartoon illustrations.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 December #1
"Strong and passionate…idealistic and independent…": These are some of the characteristics of Dragon-Year people in the Chinese Zodiac. The 12-year cycle is well-known in North America because of the ubiquitous Chinese-restaurant placemats. This series has appeared annually to provide a back story for each animal, highlighting the personality traits that are said to influence the people born in particular years. Selecting some elements of Chinese culture, such as the Dragon Boat races that still take place today, the dragon's power over water, the dragon's legendary features as an amalgam of elements from the other real Zodiac animals and the pearl, a symbol of prosperity awarded at the end of the race, Chin weaves an original tale. It extols the dragon Dom's talents and initiative as he helps the boy Bo and the other Zodiac figures work together and win the boat race, demonstrating that "dragons are energetic and shoulder responsibility well." Humorous, motion-filled color illustrations are full of large-eyed, obnoxiously cute animals and funny-looking people that appear as if they have stepped out of an animated TV cartoon (Wood's usual gig). None of the humans look particularly Chinese, and anachronistic elements such as a Polaroid-style photo of Dom pull the tale away from its traditional roots. For those who want a sugar-coated, didactic Chinese New Year story. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 January

Gr 1-3--A young dragon named Dominic wants to enter the village boat race after befriending a boy named Bo and some of the other zodiac animals. Practice isn't going well; they capsize their canoe, which they borrowed from the emperor. But then Dom comes up with an alternative plan: he will act as the boat himself as the others ride on his back. On the day of the race, Bo and the animals paddle furiously while Dom stretches out to his full length and speeds down the river. The team wins by a nose, and the story concludes with a rather heavy-handed message about sportsmanship and teamwork. Done in a cartoon style, the illustrations of the boat and pagodas are depicted in Chinese design. Oddly, however, the characters have Western features. Overall, a supplemental purchase.--Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA

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