Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Chin Chiang and the Dragon’s Dance

Wallace, Ian (Author/Illustrator)
Groundwood Books 1992. 32 pages
First published: 1984
ISBN: 9780888991676 (paperback)
9780888990204 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view, setting

Award

Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award – 1985

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Chin Chiang has always wanted to participate in the New Year’s dragon’s dance. But now that he’s old enough to dance with his grandfather, he’s nervous. “If the dance was clumsy,” one of the other dancers told him, “the Great Dragon would be angry. Then he might toss the fruit from the trees and flood the valley.” During the final rehearsal with his grandfather, Chin Chiang runs away and takes refuge on the roof of the public library. There he meets Pu Yee, an old woman who used to do the dragon dance. They practise on the rooftop and, although he plans to make Pu Yee take his place in the dance, Chin Chiang gains confidence and is able to execute the dance with grace.

The watercolour illustrations are intricate and vibrant. They capture the movement and magic of the Chinese New Year, with textured layers of ribbon, lanterns, fireworks and, of course, the dragon costume, whose head is “splendid and fierce” and whose striped tail is made of coloured silk. In one scene, Chin Chiang and Pu Yee dance on the pebbled rooftop, a cityscape behind them and fuzzy sunlit clouds in the distance.

The language is poetic and reads like a fable: “High in the sky flags of fire and falling moons burst into light. They sizzled and sparkled, rocketed straight up and whistled to the ground.” The story has a happy ending, with both Chin Chiang and Pu Yee dancing the dragon’s dance. Grandfather invites Pu Yee home for dinner, and they toast “to a prosperous Year of the Dragon.”

  •  

    Chin Chiang has a lot of respect for his elders, for traditions and for the importance of the dragon’s dance. Discuss what this tells you about his character. How is he similar to and different from you?

  •  

    Discuss how Chin Chiang is feeling the day before his performance as the Dragon’s dancer. Connect with a situation where you had trouble dealing with the pressure of performance. What scared you? What scares Chin Chiang? Share your thinking in a Venn diagram.

  •  

    Discuss an event where you were well prepared and performed well. How did you feel afterwards?

  •  

    Research how the New Year is celebrated in different cultures: When is it? What happens on that day? Are there any symbols?

  •  Brainstorm what you know about the Chinese New Year. When is it? How is it celebrated? Research the different symbols related to this celebration. Research how the New Year is celebrated in different cultures.
  •  Compare Chin Chiang’s lifestyle with yours. What activities does he do? Who are the people he interacts with? What is his relationship with the elders?
  •  Discuss how Chin Chiang is feeling the day before his performance as the Dragon’s dancer. Connect with a situation where you had trouble dealing with the pressure of performance. What do you think scares Chin Chiang? What scared you before your performance? Share your thinking in a Venn diagram.
  •  

    Discuss an event where you were well prepared and performed well. How did you feel afterwards?

  •  

    Talk about your own New Year celebration traditions. Share your collective knowledge about New Year celebrations around the world. Create a Venn diagram to organize the differences and similarities between your traditions and those of others.

  •  

    How did Chin Chiang overcome his fear of failure? What connections do you make with his story?

  •  

    View several teacher-selected video clips of New Year’s parades around the world. During a second viewing, note how each one engages the different senses. Use the notes to help you write a descriptive paragraph about your favourite parade.

  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use information
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Social Sciences