|Nian, the Chinese New Year dragon : a beastly tale|
Author: Loh-Hagan, Virginia
An illustrated retelling for young readers of the Chinese folktale about a dragon that threatens a village each spring and Mei, the young girl who is destined to defeat him.
Kirkus Reviews (08/01/19)
School Library Journal (12/01/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/01/2019 The author of PoPo’s Lucky Chinese New Year (2017) revisits the Lunar New Year with this retelling of a Chinese legend. Mei is called to deliver her community from Nian the fearsome dragon, and she only has 15 days to do it. Using her wits and the help of the villagers, the brave girl vanquishes Nian by scaring it with loud noises, blinding it with bright clothing, lanterns, and flags, and finally subduing it with a magical cane. Through simple language, Loh-Hagan explains the origin of some of the traditions still practiced during the Spring Festival, fluidly weaving into the tale many of the customs, from the 15-day-long celebration to the lighting of lanterns. Transitions between scenes are sometimes awkward, but Banks’ vivid and expressive art aids in bringing more cohesion to the work. The renderings evoke Chinese brush painting while also depicting strong lines with a more modern sensibility. An author’s note offers information about the holiday for readers who may not be familiar. A girl-powered take on Chinese New Year legends. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2019 PreS-Gr 2—Every spring, the dragon Nian escapes his magical prison to terrorize the countryside and feast on the livestock and the locals (last year, the fierce beast ate Mei's father and brother). This spring, the warrior who imprisoned Nian appears to Mei in her dreams, tells her she must defeat the beast for good, and gives her his cane to help. Over the next 15 nights, Mei discovers that the dragon fears loud noises and bright things. She then tricks Nian into eating the magical cane. There are many versions of this legend to explain the meaning behind traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. Loh-Hagan makes it her own by making the hero a young girl who figures out how to defeat the dragon, and the narrative builds exciting tension as Mei saves the day. Banks's kinetic artwork features a large (and age-appropriately scary), Chinese-style dragon. The bright red color used to frighten Nian really pops against the otherwise muted palette. VERDICT A wonderful version of a classic legend and a welcome addition to holiday collections.—Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.