________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 14 . . . . March 17, 2006


Dragon Tide.

Ingrid Lee. Illustrated by Soizick Meister.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2006.
32 pp., cloth, $21.95.
ISBN 1-55143-352-4.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-9.

Review by Laura Dodwell-Groves.

** 1/2 /4

Reviewed from f&g’s.


The girl packed the sand down gently, leaving palm prints in the hill that rippled beneath her fingers. She cupped and coaxed the sand. Suddenly a sleepy eye stared back. When the children turned to look, it winked at them lazily.


A stranger shapes a dragon in the sand and tells two children that, when the tide reaches it, the water will separate the sand and set the dragon free. So the children set about trying to protect the dragon from others on the beach that might trample it underfoot.

     Ingrid Lee’s love for storytelling and fairy tales is very apparent in Dragon Tide. Her sense of magic is demonstrated throughout, from the mystical stranger to the shooting star. She presents a delightful concept that allows one to make castles (or dragons) in the sand and not fear or regret the sea’s conquest of them at high tide. Also, the idea that people can create and destroy dragons with their bare hands and feet gives a great sense of power, control and, of course, magic.

internal art

     Soizick Meister’s illustrations are a comfortable partner for Lee’s narration. The effect of the acrylics being airbrushed gives the illustrations a wonderful boldness, doing justice to the gold of the sand, the blue of the sky and the dark of the night.

     This book works well read aloud as there are wonderful rhythms in Lee’s language. However, this creates a small problem as Lee dwells a little long on the construction of the dragon (the sculpting of the sand), which means we are left with three or four very similar drawings from Meister. She begins to play with angles to try and break up the monotony but could go further. We know from the book’s title what the stranger is building in the sand. While I do think that readers will enjoy the dramatic irony in the reveal (they know it is a dragon but the children in the story don’t), I do not feel the effect would be lost if the children began to guard the dragon just a page or two sooner.

     All said, this is an enjoyable book, well told and well illustrated. Something to read at bedtime: for happy dreams of dragons being brought to life.


Laura Dodwell-Groves is a Master of Children’s Literature student at the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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