Retold by Margaret Read MacDonald
Illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa
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This story is retold from “The Little Boy from the Dragon Palace” in Ancient Tales and Modern Japan: An Anthology of Japanese Folk Tales by Fanny Hagin Mayer. In correspondence with the author she told me the book was supposed to be titled The Snot-Nosed Little Boy but it was changed at the last minute.
Folk Tales have always been a delight to read. Children tend to like them as bedtime stories and adults like them because they always have a lesson to teach. In this story a poor flower seller offers flowers to the sea as a gift to the king of the Dragon Palace. He is rewarded with an unlikely gift, a snot-nosed little boy, that requires a special meal of shrimp with vinegar and sugar every night. Much to the surprise of the flower seller when the little boy finishes his meal and blows his nose a wish is granted. As one can imagine the flower seller gets greedy and decides that feeding the little boy is too much of a hassle. As soon as his good fortune has come it goes and the little boy returns to the Dragon Palace, disappointed that the flower seller never even said thank you. What can be learned here? Always be appreciative of the gifts that you are given no matter how much work they may seem to be.
The style of art looked familiar and then I realized why. Sachiko Yoshikawa also illustrated the book Late for School by Stephanie Calmenson that I reviewed about a month ago. I love the artwork of this artist. It’s a great fit for the subject matter of the book. The beautiful paintings are comical as well as wonderful to look at. I really like the image of the little boy and the Dragon King standing under the sea with the beautiful lady that gave the boy to the flower seller. The Dragon King is not scary but rather funny looking and will appeal to little ones.
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