Roxanne Hsu Feldman's Reviews > The Pet Dragon: A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters

The Pet Dragon by Christoph Niemann
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's review
Dec 18, 08

bookshelves: 1-3grade, picturebooks, prek-k
Read in December, 2008

The colors and forms of the illustrations are definitely extremely eye-pleasing. The subject matter (Chinese characters/words) is definitely in high demand these days. However, I find the "story" very forced (where did that green witch pop into the story? And a Pet Dragon is definitely NOT a very Chinese concept. Dragons are not cute little creatures to have as friends! I blame Disney's Mulan for this belittling of a powerful mythical being.)

It is also odd that there is no reference whatsoever to the sounds of these words -- as if Chinese cannot be pronounced, or as if these characters should be pronounced with their English sounds.

The jarring juxtaposition of an extremely traditionally garbed child with a completely modern and western-style clothed father also makes me somewhat uncomfortable -- I can't figure out the reasons behind such choices.
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Beth I agree that the clothing for the father and child were poor choices, and reflect some kind of psuedo-Asian American fantasy.

But don't Mardarin and Cantonese use the same characters, as well as Japanese in an older fashion, while all using different words? A glossary of all three language might have been nice, but maybe not essential.

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