Book Detail < Book Search  

The Boy from the Dragon Palace: a Folktale from Japan

The Boy from the Dragon Palace: a Folktale from Japan

Author: Margaret Read MacDonald
Illustrator: Sachiko Yoshikawa

Originally titled "The Snot-Nose Little Boy", this is the tale of a poor flower seller who is offered a gift from the Dragon King who lives beneath the sea…a little boy with a snotty nose. Every time the child blows his nose...the poor man's wish is granted! What should he wish for? A palace...treasure...? When is enough enough...?

Type Year Publisher Price Length   ISBN
Hardcover  2011  Albert Whitman  $16.99  32 pages  978-0-8075-7513-0 

Additional Information and Resources


"Children, predicatably, will enjoy the boy's snuffling of nose and slurping of soup. Parents will like the parable against greed. And despite the tale's ick factor, Yoshikawa's drawings are lovely an adorable."  ...New York times, Sept. 18, 2011 p.21

"Starred Review: The digitally enhanced, watercolor collage art is typically Japanese in setting, clothing and the wide-eyed (and grubby-faced) boy’s black topknot. The text is nicely repetitive and includes satisfyingly disgusting nose-blowing effects that children will love. MacDonald’s lively retelling of this folktale is bound to fascinate kids; after all, who can resist a tale with a snot-nosed boy."  ...Kirkus July 15, 2011

". The bright, digitally enhanced watercolor collage sets the story in its native Japan (a source note is appended), with traditional clothing and furnishings contrasting nicely with the icky but funny way the man gets his riches. A sure-fire hit with primary grades, this would be a lighthearted source of discussion of when enough is enough."  ...Horn Book, November 2011

"This playful new version gets retold by peripatetic children’s librarian Margaret Read MacDonald (gotta love that perfect middle name!) and is colorfully presented by illustrator Sashiko Yoshikawa who draws on her own childhood memories of growing up in an old part of Tokyo. Together, the pair create an entertaining morality tale both timely and timeless."  ...Smithsonian Institute BOOKDRAGON blog Nov 8 2011

"MacDonald's (How Many Donkeys?) version of this Japanese folktale offers minor grossness and big laughs, with a moral tossed in; Yoshikawa's (The Last Day of Kindergarten) digitally enhanced watercolors, correspondingly, go for humor over elegance. A flower seller's gift from the Dragon King beneath the sea is a runny-nosed boy who only eats one thing: "[Y]ou must make shrimp for him every day," the boy's chaperone directs. "Put in vinegar. Put in sugar. He likes it like that." Like the magic flounder in the Grimm Brothers' tale, the boy has the power to grant wishes, but the flower seller is too ungrateful to enjoy his new palace and servants, and too annoyed by the boy's horrible nose-blowing and demanding diet to tolerate him for very long: "Go on back to the sea where you belong," he says. Readers will be ready for the flower seller's comeuppance and the sorrowful clucking of the snot-nosed boy back at home under the sea: "You just can't help some humans," he says. Perhaps, the tale suggests, even great wealth is not free of annoyances. Ages 4–7. (Sept.)"  ...Publisher's Weekly Sept. 1, 2011

" The watercolor collage illustrations are digitally enhanced and they have a Japanese art sensibility in detail and form. Young readers will love the exaggerated angles (really making the peddler like a big headed man) and of course, the snotty nose of the boy and the magic and fortune his sneezes produce. Overall, this folktale adaptation delivers a good laugh, and even a better message. "

"The simplicity of both the text and the illustrations makes this an excellent choice for storytimes and sharing one-on-one."  ...School Library Journal, August 2011

"some real child appeal in the boy’s wish granting, particularly as it involves an elaborate ritual wherein he wipes his snotty nose first on one sleeve, then the other, then blows “HNNNK! HNNNK! HNNNK!,” and those sharing the story aloud will have a particularly good time with this routine."  ...Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Nov.Dec.2011.


New York Public Library 100 Books 2011
Web Site

Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year
Web Site

Storytelling World Award
Stories for Young Listeners Award.   

Anne Izard Storyteller's Choice Award

Children's Core Collection, 2014

Categories and Keywords
Categories Keywords