Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Duel With A Dragon is an adventure storybook for children, written and illustrated by George Neeb. The First Emperor of China had a burning need to be immortal. He searched his kingdom for potions and magical spells to achieve his goal; he even called himself the dragon emperor to try to wrest the powers of that most powerful and magical being for himself. An old man came to the palace to warn the emperor that his behavior was angering the dragons, who in turn were causing the river to flood. The emperor was angered by the presumption that he should be so blamed, and he demanded to know how the old man could know these things. The old man explained that the dragons communicated with him. He refused the emperor’s demand that he summon a dragon and was sent to the dungeons for his refusal. Moon Lily, the emperor’s daughter whose voice had charmed the old man when he heard it, approached the old man and asked him to teach her how to summon a dragon. She believed that doing so might make the emperor less likely to make everyone miserable. The old man decided to help her, but could it solve the emperor’s problem?
George Neeb’s Duel With A Dragon transports young readers back to 221 BCE when all the regions that are now known as China were subdued and united by the King of Qin. Children and caregivers alike will find Neeb’s story fascinating, especially when teamed up with the author’s marvelous illustrations. I loved his use of colors, pen strokes, and imagery to create that world long gone. His characters’ faces are expressive and make it easy for the reader to get involved in the story. Will Moon Lily succeed in summoning a dragon? And will the dragon get the arrogant emperor to respect his superior power? Add to the mix a clever riddle Moon Lily offers the dragon and her own leading role in the story, a far cry from the standard etiquette expected from a princess, and young girls will have a field day seeing the potential of their own powers and abilities. Neeb concludes his story with historical data, a Qin Dynasty True or False Quiz, and a guide to the Qin script characters used in the story. Duel With a Dragon is an exceptionally good historical storybook and it’s most highly recommended.