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Summary: It has been thousands of years, but now that Jin Jin has hatched from his egg, he is ready to find his identity. Is he a fish? an eagle? a snake? Frustrated, he starts on a journey to find the Old Turtle and Crane can help him. All of the animals assure Jin Jin they will know the answer. In the end, though Jin Jin discovers he had the answer all along. This Chinese folktale shares the story of the dragon and also offers information about Chinese characters.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10
Interest Level: 3 to 8
Reading Level: 3
Age of Child: Read with and by an 8-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: This was an instant hit. As soon as she saw the Chinese characters the second time, she was ready to help Jin Jin interpret them. She had studied China in second grade, and she also had information to add about the history of the Chinese dragon.
Adult Reader Reaction: I was really surprised at my daughter's enthusiasm for the story. I expected her to look at a few pages and then set it aside, but we ended up reading it several times right away. I enjoyed the story; it is well paced and even with all of the characters, easy for a young audience to keep up. The illustrations are lovely, too.
Pros: Familiar animals and folklore combine in this story that is fun to read and expands children's knowledge of other cultures.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a lovely story and one well worth sharing. The illustrations (particularly toward the end of the story) offer lots to explore just by looking at the pictures.
Educational Themes: This is a great example of how folktales are universal. There are elements to this story that you'll find in other cultures. There are a few Chinese words interspersed and plenty of information about crafting and interpreting Chinese characters (letters) in the back.
Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up this book at the 2010 ALA Confefence for their personal library. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, dragons, multicultural, fables and folklore, life lessons