Our Family Dragon A Lunar New Year Story
By Rebecca Lim & Cai Tse
Reviewed by Mia Macrossan
Rebecca Lim is the much awarded author of Tiger Daughter ( CBCA 2022 Book of the Year, Older Readers winner), and Two Sparrowhawks in a Lonely Sky reviewed in StoryLinks. Cai Tse is a Chinese Australian illustrator based in Sydney. Her debut graphic novel, Lion Dancers, comes out in 2024.
A little boy is excited because his family is preparing to celebrate New Year’s Eve, the Lunar New Year, and he is full of expectation as the dragon is coming. The family clean the house, putting any bad luck outside with the rubbish. Dumplings, spring rolls, long life noodles, dried oysters, along with Eight Treasure Rice are prepared to welcome back the dragon. The family will stay up till after midnight, telling stories, playing games, listening to folk songs and Chinese opera.
2024 is the Year of the Dragon which can mean good luck, strength and great change. Last year it was the Year of the Rabbit which has meant luck, hope and many surprises. The book ends on a high note with the arrival of the dragon, who is not quite what this reader expected, but all is carefully explained.
The illustrations are bold and lively, saturating the pages with colour, particularly red. The whole is gorgeous and attractive. Cai Tse has used a Manga style with large eyes for the people, guaranteed to appeal to children. Sometimes the boy even looks a bit cross-eyed he is so excited. In Chinese astrology, each year is associated with an element and an animal sign. This explains why zodiac animals cover the end papers and rabbits and dragons feature throughout the book.
With its popular themes of family, cultural traditions, celebration, siblings, Lunar New Year, Spring Festival, zodiac animals, lion dancing, Chinese New Year, and Year of the Dragon this book will be enjoyed by any family that celebrates the Lunar New Year and is definitely a valuable school resource for studying calendars, new year festivals and special family celebrations.