Book Review: Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon

Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon (2017, Sleeping Bear Press, Picture Book)

hu wan and sleeping dragon

From the publisher:

Outside Beijing, China, in the year 1572, nine-year-old Hu-Wan tends the vegetable garden with his grandfather. Their specialty is growing gourds that are made into ladles and bowls and sold in the marketplace. Each year, one special gourd is made into a cricket cage. This year, it is Hu-Wan’s turn to grow and carve the special gourd. He decides it should be carved into the shape of a sleeping dragon. When Hu-Wan learns that the emperor has died and his nine-year-old son is named Emperor of China, he decides to give the dragon cricket cage to the young emperor to offer comfort and cheer.


Hu Wan and the Sleeping Dragon, written by Judy Young and illustrated by Jordi Solano, is an historical fiction tale that will teach and inspire young minds. With the feeling of an old fable, this story unfolds beautifully as Hu Wan learns from his grandfather and seeks to make something of his own. A tale of family, dedication, and even sacrifice, this book stands out in all the right ways.

Parents and children are sure to learn something new as Hu Wan makes clay molds for his gourds and fashions cricket homes. The author’s note at the back of the book includes even more historical facts for readers old and young.

Highly recommended for children and adults this holiday season. Best for children with longer attention spans if read aloud, and older children who may have outgrown picture books will find this one interesting.

5 stars for this inspiring read!

Thank you to Sleeping Bear Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.