Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon by Judy Young, illustrated by Jordi Solano
Young and Solano have created a cohesive story, highlighting several key lessons and providing opportunity to learn more about a different time and culture, 16th Century Beijing. Solano’s detailed illustrations capture the seasons, spirit and tenor of the story’s setting. Young’s words capture the simplicity yet abundant life of Hu Wan, a nine year-old boy who lives and farms with with Grandfather. The key lesson from/or Hu Wan comes on page eighteen when Hu Wan attempts his first carving, making an errant cut in the gourd. “Mistakes can be turned into masterpieces. Look at it again.” This sage advice from Grandfather really resonates both with Hu Wan but also the reader. I can imagine so many times were pausing to think about how a ‘mistake’ or disappointing situation/outcome can be turned around with a little reflection and change of perspective. It also connects well to the advice that one only truly fails when they stop trying.
[spoiler alert] In the end, Hu Wan is rewarded for his kindness, empathy and humility by the emperor’s young son. He also has found a gift and additional connection with his Grandfather. Books that demonstrate these key elements of being a kind human rank high on my list. I look forward to more tales from Young and Solana.
This makes a great edition to our holiday book collection – celebrating Lunar / Chinese New Year is a big part of our family! Hu Wan’s lessons a great compliment.
Other New Year’s posts –
- Celebrate Lunar New Year: Action Art Ideas
- Upside-Down Cake: Classic Pineapple
- Forbidden Black Rice Pudding: Pressure Cooker Recipe
- Madame Wong’s Steamed Pear Dessert
I received a copy of this book to review from Sleeping Bear Press but I was not financially compensated, nor required to say something positive, in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my experience and observations while reading this book.