Humor, fun, and a hint of grossness will capture the attention of young readers. Margaret Read MacDonald’s “The Boy From the Dragon Palace” capitalized on her expertise as a storyteller and as a children’s librarian to retell a traditional Japanese folktale. The simplicity and the repetitive pattern of language, the choice of words, and the anticipation of outcome will prod the readers to turn the page quickly to find out what awaits next.

When a poor flower seller decides to offer his unsold blooms to the Dragon King who lives at the bottom of the sea, a beautiful maiden delivers a dirty, snot-nosed boy as a token of thank you from the Dragon King. The flower seller was instructed to feed the dirty boy shrimp cooked to the boy’s taste in order to receive good fortune.

Soon the flower seller discovered that his every wish and request was transformed to reality. Eventually greed and ungratefulness overtook the flower seller and the story’s fabled ending serves as a lesson to its readers.

The illustrations by the award-winning artist, Sachiko Yoshikawa, are captivating, filled with brilliant colors and showcase the beautiful Japanese  culture and exquisite Japanese fine art.

This is a fun book to be enjoyed by the young and the young at heart.

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