I didn’t know why I picked up this book but I’m glad I did because I loved the message this book brought. I didn’t really enjoy all the illustrations inside this book but I loved this books story and I liked how all the illustrations were three-page spreads. This ended up being a fun story.
Mi Fei was a humble painter in the village. One day, a messenger ran into the village warning them that a dragon had awaken from its hundred-year sleep. The dragon was destroying everything in its path. Someone needed to stop the dragon, but who?
Everyone is scared, how can they get the dragon to go back to sleep? Everyone looked to Mi Fei as he knew about heroes and gods and well, Mi Fei couldn’t refuse their worried faces. Mi Fei packs and sets off to face Sui Jen, the source of fire. Pleading with the dragon, Sui Jen makes Mi Fei nervous as he tells him that he will continue to stalk the countryside until someone can perform three tasks for him. Sui Jen informs Mi Fei that he will burn and trample everything in his path, until someone can complete all three tasks for him.
A scared Mi Fei asks the dragon what the three tasks are. A short conversation emerges in which Mi Fei learns what he must do to complete the first task. If he fails to complete this task, Sui Jen will eat him. As he completes the first task, the dragon will give him the next task. Mi Fei acts humble and he uses his wit to solve the tasks the dragon gives him. The illustrations show Mi Fei hard at work and the confrontation between the two. I didn’t like the whimsical feeling of the illustrations.
It is amazing how this humble painter is able to accomplish the tasks the dragon asks of him. As I read each task, I wondered what exactly the dragon was asking from the painter. As the painter thought through the words spoken from the dragon, he truly was a wise painter. The last task was a beauty and I loved how the painter came up with his answer.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the novel more than I loved the illustrations. A great folktale.