Title: Dragon Dancing
Author: Carole Lexa Schaefer
Illustrator: Pierr Morgan
Publisher: New York, Viking: 2007.
Genre: Picture book, fiction
Audience Age: 3 and up
Theme: imaginative play, Chinese dragons, birthday celebration, dragon dance, art in imaginative play, onomatopoeia, fun with words
Opening Sentences: At school, our teacher reads to us – a book about dragons. After, in the art room, we decorate for Mei Lin’s birthday with sparkly paper and ribbons. Snip, twirl, flip. “Look at me!” Mei Lin shouts. “I’m Birthday Dragon!”
Synopsis: The children all contribute to the birthday dragon costume, then at recess go outside and dragon dance around the playground, imagining themselves in all sorts of different locations and situations. Words in bold type, such as “stomp, bomp-tromping” and “whish-whoosh” imitate the sound or look of their actions.
Activities/Resources: Although this book is about a birthday celebration, its use of the image of dragon dancing can be a good way to introduce lessons about Chinese/Lunar New Year.
There is a listing of picture books and resources for celebrating Chinese New Year at Ready, Set, Story, a blog of the storytime features at Naples, NY library.
Scholastic also has Chinese New Year activities.
There are videos on YouTube of Dragon Dances, and Chinese New Year Parades.
Kids would have fun making their own dragon the way the children in the book did, and imagining other places the dragon could go and other things the dragon could do, even doing their own Dragon Dance.
There are facets of the book that lend themselves to other activities as well. The word onomatopoeia may be a tough one, but the concept, words that imitate sounds, is one kids can readily grasp. Here are some suggestions for activities.
Availability: In print and readily available.