On separate sides of the world live two very different dragons. One dragon lives in a palace; one lives in a cave. One is covered in golden scales; one is mossy green with splotches of brown. They are East Dragon and West Dragon, and because they are worried that the other might be stronger, they stay far away from each other and stick to opposite sides of the world. This is the basic premise for the fantastical, sweet and silly story East Dragon, West Dragon, written by Robyn Eversole and illustrated by Scott Campbell.
I’m always on the look-out for picture books that I want to give as gifts, and this is a story that benefits from a few readings, so it makes a perfect present for any book-loving friend or family member. The characters of East Dragon and West Dragon are drawn beautifully, with the art highlighting the fact that they have very distinct personalities. Campbell has also populated the book with beautifully detailed images drawn in a water-colour style. You’ll want to spend some time on each page so that you get the full impact of this adorable world.
What I love about this book is that you get a lot of great information mixed in with the cute story, making it a great conversation starter. Also, the images sometimes cover both pages, and the level of detail is lots of fun. For example, when the knights make their way to the Emperor’s palace, they have a great feast, and each and every bit of the page is covered with cute little details to explore with your young reader. You have one knight twirling noodles on his sword, an octopus hugging another knight, and a third knight belching fire because of the spicy food! While I love to mention books that work great in big groups, this picture book is one you want to examine close up.
And, of course, eventually the two shy dragons meet and learn that while they are very different, that is nothing to be afraid of. Give this picture book a shot and be sure to keep your eye out for the charmingly anachronistic moment between an Eastern dragon and a knight engaged in a friendly karaoke duet.