Friday, June 17, 2011

Children's Book Review: Everyone Knows What A Dragon Looks Like

Name of Book: Everyone Knows What A Dragon Looks Like
Author / Illustrator: Written by Jay Williams and Illustrated by Mercer Mayer
What's It All About: A poor boy named Han sits outside the city of Wu's gates and sweeps,  receiving for it a roof over his head and a bowl of rice.  The leaders of the city get word that the wild horsemen of the North are coming.  They can only pray to the Great Cloud Dragon in hopes that he can save them.  A little old man comes to the city gate and asks Han to take him to the Mandarin.  He tells the leaders of the city that he is the dragon.  The Mandarin and all of his advisers laugh at the little old man and tell him to be on his way, they must prepare for the horsemen of the North.  Han alone seems to have faith that if the old man says he is a dragon, he must be a dragon.  Because of Han's kindness to the little old man, the man saves the city of Wu by becoming a beautiful dragon in the clouds and blowing away the army.  Ever after Han is wealthy and respected in the city of Wu.
My Favorite Bit: I love the picture of the little old man changing into the dragon, I love the picture of the Mandarin and all his advisers speaking of the coming menace, and I love the page of all the wild horsemen blowing away.  But best of all I love what it looks like to see a dragon in the clouds.  Mayer has outdone himself here.  This is a beautiful example of his work.

Go Get It: Everyone Knows What A Dragon Looks Like paperback from Amazon UK
Suitable Age For Reading It To: This one's for an older than five child simply because the story is a little longer and more complex.  My little one likes the pictures but doesn't listen all the way through the way my nine year old does. 
A Little About The Author / Illustrator: Jay Williams (1914-1978) was an American author from Buffalo New York.  He has been a press agent, an actor, an army man (who received the purple heart), and a writer of all kinds of fiction from mysteries to historical fiction to children's books to plays.   He wrote the young adult series Danny Dunn and wrote adult crime dramas under the pseudonym Michael Delving.  In all he published at least 79 books including 11 picture books, 39 children's novels, 7 adult mysteries, 4 nonfiction books, 8 historical novels and a play.
Mercer Mayer, born in 1943 in Little Rock Arkansas, is an American children's book writer and illustrator.  Mayer was from a Navy family and moved many times before settling in Honolulu, Hawaii.  He entered the field of children's book illustration though his teachers were afraid he wasn't good enough to be a success (snort).  Mayer wrote the very popular series Little Critter among other famous works.

Mercer Mayer

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