Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon

written by Judy Young

Outside Beijing, China, in the year 1572, nine-year-old Hu-Wan tends the vegetable garden with his grandfather. Their specialty is growing gourds that are made into ladles and bowls and sold in the marketplace. Each year, one special gourd is made into a cricket cage. This year, it is Hu-Wan’s turn to grow and carve the special gourd. He decides it should be carved into the shape of a sleeping dragon. When Hu- Wan learns that the emperor has died and his nine-year-old son is named Emperor of China, he makes a decision, hoping to offer the young emperor comfort and cheer.


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ISBN: 978-1-58536-977-5 Category:

Written by Judy Young
Illustrated by Jordi Solano

Published by Sleeping Bear Press, 2017

Hard Cover, 32 pages


Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan, author of PoPo’s Chinese New Year: “Sleeping dragons. Singing crickets. And, ‘mistakes’ that turn into masterpieces. Judy Young carves out a heartwarming tale set in ancient China that will inspire today’s young readers to see the power and beauty of simple things and acts of kindness.”

The Feathered Quill: “Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon takes readers to an interesting point in Chinese history and shows what life was like for the peasants living outside the gates of the Forbidden City. As well as learning a little history, youngsters will see the sacrifice Hu Wan makes in the hopes of cheering up another boy – an important lesson for all. The author was inspired to write the story after seeing a museum exhibit of ancient cricket cages. The art of creating these fascinating cages is explored through Hu Wan’s learning how to make one. And their use, the enjoyment of cricket songs in the house, will ignite children’s imaginations as to how they could perhaps create their own cricket cage.”

Culture Honey, Travel and Culture with Heart: “This 16th century tale shows the tender relationship between a boy and his grandfather. Grandfather’s patient training in the arts of gardening and carving are combined with doses of encouragement and wise guidance. When the carving tool slips making an unwanted gash in the special gourd, Grandfather’s response is, “Don’t worry, mistakes can be turned into masterpieces.” Soft watercolor illustrations help convey a timeless message about the values of patience, hard work, generosity, and family.”