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The Sons of the Dragon King: A Chinese Legend    by Ed Young order for
Sons of the Dragon King
by Ed Young
Order:  USA  Can
Atheneum, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Dragon King of ancient Chinese legend had nine immortal sons, who had trouble discovering their unique talents ... so the disguised ruler helped them. This is a re-telling of one version of the legend, illustrated with Chinese calligraphy and bold images of both the Dragon King and the nine princes.

Bei-She spent his time in strength competitions, so his father told him to carry columns 'that support the roofs of China's greatest buildings.' Since Chi Wen would only stare into the distance, the Dragon King assigned him to watch for danger from building tops. Noisy Pu-Lao now adorns musical instruments, ensuring 'that their sound will be loud and true.' Since Bi-An was fair, his father set him to guard prison doorways.

Tao-Tieh, who loved the kitchens, got to protect places where food is prepared. Ba-Shah reveled in water so was assigned to watch over boats from bridges. Since angry Ya Zi yelled a lot, his picture was emblazoned on weapons to scare China's enemies. The image of Sua Ni, who loved to play with fire, now adorns pots used to burn ceremonial incense. And finally, homebody Tiao Tu was tasked with guarding the entrances to people's homes.

The Sons of the Dragon King is an oriental legend that teaches an important lesson - that everyone is different; each of us has unique talents; and we can all contribute in our diverse fashions.

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