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The Minstrel and the Dragon Pup Hardcover – April 1, 1993

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Often, art as splendid as that created here by Clark ( Listen to This ; Beware of the Aunts! ) overshadows the narrative it illustrates. Not so in this case, since the late Sutcliff's deftly told tale proves as captivating and as timeless as Clark's richly hued oil pastel paintings, allegedly inspired by the work of Piero Della Francesca. These are illustrations in the best sense of the word: through their expressiveness--and careful coordination with the narrative--the story can practically be followed without benefit of text. An exquisite overall design makes this a truly elegant package--both text and paintings are set off in double-ruled borders against marbled black backgrounds; striking mosaic endpapers are echoed in spot-art designs throughout. And the story itself, though a bit long for the standard picture-book format, is a charmer. A minstrel who sings for his supper finds an unusual egg while walking on a beach. Hoping to encourage it to hatch, he plays "a tune for waking up to"; when a dragon pup emerges, the minstrel names him Lucky. As they wander from town to town, the two grow very close, and the minstrel "made the best songs he had ever made." After a scheming traveling showman steals Lucky, the minstrel is devastated, and his suppers get smaller as his songs grow sadder. A kind king and his gravely ill son play important roles in the heartwarming reunion between man and pet, in a conclusion that will elicit smiles from little ones and gratified sighs from their elders. And--from everyone--the desire to start the story all over again. Ages 5-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4-- In this elegant picture-book fantasy, a dragon's abandoned egg is awakened to life by a minstrel's song. The young creature and the solitary young man become true friends, until the dragon pup is abducted by an evil traveling showman. In the end, they are happily reunited, and an ailing prince has been miraculously healed as well. Sutcliff has taken folkloric elements and made them into a tale that seems both timeless and fresh. She claims to know the real truth about dragons, and provides readers with enchanting variations on familiar details. Clark's glowing oil pastels truly illuminate the telling. This is a land that seems commonplace yet exotic: there are castles, inns, . . . and palm trees. The dark borders enhance the ceremonial, formal tone. Even the page layouts help express the story's nuances: small intense pictures show the hasty abduction, while a luxurious double-page spread depicts the love between the minstrel and the dragon. All in all, this is a remarkable collaboration that sophisticated readers will take to right away. It may need to be introduced to children who are not used to a graceful pace and literary style, but the effort will certainly be worthwhile, and all youngsters are sure to respond to the book's beauty and emotional power. --Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1st U.S. ed edition (April 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564020983
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564020987
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.8 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,807,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rosemary Sutcliff wrote more than 40 historical novels for young adults-including The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, The Lantern Bearers, The Sword and the Circle, and Black Ships Before Troy-five adult novels, and several books of nonfiction.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Terri J. Rice TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 4, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rosemary Sutcliff is a superb writer, she has taken many of the ancient classics like the Iliad and Odyssey and brought them to a child level without losing the content and poetry of the stories.

Here, she has written a book for elementary age children and like always had made it a very well told tale.

The minstrel's dragon pup is stolen from him one night at an inn and a long time later he finds his dragon at a king's menagerie and he wants the dragon back without incurring the wrath of the king. This story is endearing and any child will relate to the relationship between a favored pet and a young boy.

The illustrations, as in all her books, are excellent. Rosemary Sutcliff manages to entertain the adult reading aloud as well as the child, and that makes for a very good children's book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Luna on November 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
My 6 year old daughter just loves this book. The dragon is so endearing, he's so much like a sweet little puppy. Her favorite part is where the minstrel rubs his tummy. It's a wonderful story of friendship with a gentle feel to it. I highly recommend it to anyone!
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 22, 1998
Format: Turtleback
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