From School Library Journal
Grade 1–4—Pringle explores the history and traits of Eastern and Western dragons. He suggests why ancient civilizations might have believed in them and differentiates among their traits in different parts of the world. Illustrations, done in acrylic in a somewhat dark palette, invite readers, as the title suggests, to use their imaginations. All are filled with swirling colors, a few so kaleidoscopic that viewers must search for the creatures among the curves and lines. Patterns in backgrounds and borders reflect the various cultures from which they come. Among the eye-popping dragon books published recently, this one has a more scholarly feel. The summaries of stories about these mythical animals lack the richness of true storytelling, but the book will show young readers that there is much to learn about dragons and may lead them to research and dreaming of their own.—Ellen Heath, Easton Area Public Library, Easton, PA
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Dragons may be friendly or scary, Pringle explains, depending on “when and where you lived.” He explores the possible origins of dragon folklore and summarizes Egyptian, Norwegian, Greek, and other frightening Western dragon legends, including those of St. George, John Smith, and the Lambton Wurm. The very brief accounts are short and shivery but not graphic. Powerful East Asian dragons, on the other hand, controlled the weather and were seen as a sign of good luck. In addition to the one Chinese story, Pringle provides details of dragons, as imagined by East Asian cultures, and tacks on a few facts about dragonflies and komodo dragons. Dark, brooding surrealistic illustrations suit the subject but may not satisfy children seeking sunnier pictures of dragons. This lacks the bright, colorful drawings of Gail Gibbons’ Behold . . . the Dragons! (1999), but it provides more information on East Asian dragons. Grades 2-4. --Linda Perkins