Don't you just love it when the very first paragraphs of a book have you chuckling out loud and thinking, "Oh, I am going to LIKE this one!" I picked this title up after a rather disappointingly trite YA, and it was the perfect antidote:
"Dragons can be awkward neighbors, so when the Emperor of China saw a dragon settle into the cave at the top of the mountain behind his palace, he wasn't pleased.
It was the biggest, scariest dragon he'd ever seen. It had seven heads, on seven snaky necks, attached to one thick, green, scaly body, and each individual head had ninety-nine sharp, curved yellow teeth. (I'm sure you can work out how many teeth the dragon had altogether, but the Emperor didn't bother doing the math. He just knew it was far too many teeth."
Of course, the dragon must be fed a steady diet of little girls (peasants' little girls, not the little girls of important people), until one clever little girl comes along to slay the dragon. And she makes the Emperor clean up the mess.
I had actually heard this story before, minus that last bit, and Don's version is infinitely more entertaining!
Each story is approximately 10 pages long, which would make these great for a daily read-aloud in any classroom. Some are familiar tales with a few changes (Red Riding Hood had to pee??). The women generally come out on top, although they aren't always made out to be perfect. Original tales range from Venezuela to Japan to Ancient Sumeria. Endings (and beginnings) are sometimes gruesome, so probably not something for your preschool story time: but definitely a fun diversion (or holiday gift) for upper elementary or older!
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