Art, Books, Reviews

Book Review: Dragon Dancer – Explore the Excitement!

Title: Dragon DancerDragon Dancer Chinese New Year
Author: Joyce Chng
Illustrator: Jérémy Pailler
Age Range: 5-11 years
Series: Lantana Global Picture Books
Hardcover: 32 pages
Published by Lantana Publishing and distributed by Lerner Publishing in the US
Type: Picture Books
Source: Copy provided by publisher

Book Description:

It is the eve of Chinese New Year. Lanterns are hung in the shopping malls and Yao is preparing to wake the ancient sky dragon, Shen Long, from his year-long sleep. From the moment Shen Long opens his great amber eyes and unfurls his silver-blue tail, Yao will be propelled on a magical journey to battle the bad luck of the previous year and usher in the good. Will he succeed? Will his grandfather watch over him and protect him from harm? A beautiful story of a Chinese festival and its symbolism for Chinese communities everywhere, told from the perspective of Yao, the dragon dancer.

My Thoughts:

The glorious, colorful watercolor illustrations that swoop and leap across the pages caught my eye first as I opened this book. It is a literal feast for the eyes. Joyce Chng’s prose brings the excitement and thrill of the wonderful dragon dance performance to life, and Jeremy Pailler’s fluid illustrations enhance that experience.

As I read the book, I could feel the power and the joy Yao felt as he performed with Shen Long, the sky dragon. The book takes us from the calm before the storm which is the dragon dance – the beautiful storm that drives away all bad luck and ushers in good luck, and then contentment at a job well done.

Reality and fantasy, life and legend, tradition and tale – all meld together in a fantastic riot of words and color to bring us a dreamlike and vibrant insight into a rich cultural experience.


In Summary/Should You Read the Dragon Dancer:

Yes! We need more books like this from diverse cultures that appeal to kids of all ages and this one is, as a bonus, artwork bound in book-form. It is a wonderful read-aloud book with all the sounds and colors it includes taking us to the dragon dance performance as we read it. an immersive read, indeed.

Rating: A
Reading Level: 5 -11 years
Reread Level: 4/5

Free Activity Planner:

You can view/download a planner for activities around this book  here. Note that these activities are just suggestions from me as I read the book, and explored and discovered peace related activities.

In addition, Lantana Publishers have wonderful teacher resources for many of their books, including this one, here. You can check the instructions to access these free resources on their website and use them. I have also included those links in my planner above  so you have it all together.

Thank you to Lerner Publishing for sending me a review copy. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated in any other way by the publishers or others for this review.

Buy it from Lerner Publishing (not an affiliate:))

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Buy from Book Depository here

You can order it from Target here

Question to you, dear readers: Would love to know if you have read any similar books? Do let me know.

Writing this post as a series for the Ultimate Blog Challenge and Write 31 Days.  31 Days, 31 Books! This is for Day Nineteen (I know, a week later and catching up is what I am doing)

Day 0 Day 1  Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5  Day 6  Day 7 Day 8 Day 9  Day 10 Day 11  Day 12 Day 13   Day 14  Day 15  Day 16  Day 17  Day 18

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Dragon Dancer – Explore the Excitement!

  1. Sounds like a compelling story! I like the watercolor illustrations. As a Southeast Asian, I feel proud when people of other cultures read about Asian-inspired stories.

  2. It is good to expose children to diversity in Literature. Joyce Chng’s seems to do that. It is nice that prose and illustrations are beautifully synchronized to provide an enriching experience for young renders.

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