How to Catch a Dragon

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Nov 2019

Member Reviews

So much fun and excitement in unusual places. I love the use of color and imagination. Perfect for the age range.
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A little boy desperately wants to catch a dragon to guarantee health and good fortune for the New Year. He tries several different things to trap the dragon with his friends, but this dragon is tricky. Will he ever catch it?

This book introduces a couple Chinese New Year traditions while the kids trying to catch a dragon while getting ready for the holiday. I wouldn’t necessarily pick this as the only Chinese New Year picture book to read as I think some others summarize the main traditional parts of the celebration better, but if you are reading several you might want to consider adding this to the mix. This one definitely stands out for focusing on the dragon and the multicultural group of kids celebrating (makes me wonder if it is supposed to be in Hong Kong or Singapore). The story is told in rhyme and it is ok, but occasionally falters a little in rhythm. I wasn’t super impressed by that at first, but then I saw in the back that the text is again provided in English, Pinyin, and Mandarin (I think…it could be Cantonese) side by side, and I’m suspecting that to make the side-by-side translation work they had to occasionally sacrifice some rhythm. If you know a little one who is looking for a bilingual tale or is bored of the same old Chinese New Year tales, give this one a shot.

I received an ARC of this title from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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How to Catch a Dragon is one of the books in Adam Wallace's How to Catch series, where kids can learn about different holidays by trying to catch a creature that relates back to the holiday. In this book we are trying to catch a dragon for the Chinese New Year.

The book takes on a rhyming scheme and it full of bright and engaging two page spreads for each stage of trying to catch the dragon. While trying to catch him we are also learning about different traditions in the Chinese holiday. 

The book also has a highlighted word on each page - it is a color, and then there is a matching colored Chinese symbol. Since I don't read Chinese, I can only assume that they are the same word but in two different languages, which would be pretty cool if I am right. However nowhere in the book does it note that it does this or is going to do it so it is hard to come around to this conclusion.  Additionally, in the back of the book it lists the whole text along with two other versions, it is possible Chinese and another, but I am not sure which. Either way a cool additional that could possibly use some explanation.

Overall I though this was a fun book, it was interesting to learn about the tradition in this way, but I think that it could have used a bit more if it is trying to teach younger kids about cultures.
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This is a great installment of the How to Catch series. The children celebrate the Chinese New Year allowing for great introduction to other holidays and cultures for young children.
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I love the “How to Catch” series, and I think this one is done exceptionally well! The rhyming and illustrations are so cute, but there’s the added bonus of the multiple languages to read in. I think all students, especially my Chinese students, will love this!
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I keep trying these books and I'm always so disappointed.  The way the book is written, the words don't flow the way they should and I continually have to stop and kind of re-read the words in my head and then find some sort of flow so that it fits better.  

The illustrations are great and it's fun to look at.  This one though, was set in what seems like China, and yet the ethnicity of the characters seem varied.  It's great to do that in a book set in America, but if this was meant to teach us a bit about China, it's not quite the melting pot America is. Sure there are some different nationalities, but when you walk down a street in China, even in Hong Kong, it really is very Chinese, so to see the wide-variety of nationalities; it just seemed off for the story.  

I liked the idea of the English word and the Chinese character highlighted on the pages.  I would have liked a bit more information about that as it intrigued my child.

Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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I love these books so I was really excited to receive this ARC from NetGalley.  This book did not disappoint and I hope that my library is able to add to the collection.  I particularly enjoyed the illustrations in this book.
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Adam Wallace's and Andy Elkerton's How-To stories are always super cute, and their prehistoric version, How to Catch a Dragan, definitely fits right in with the rest of these fun stories.

Your young readers are sure to find this book hilarious, and it will naturally become one of their new favorite How-To stories. The illustrations are bright, the characters are adorable, and the humor oozes out of each page.


The focus of How to Catch a Dragon is centered around a family that is deep in their preparations for the Chinese New Year. All is calm until Grandma suggests the need for a dragon. For a dragon would bring the family health and fortune within the upcoming year.

So, with the help of his friends, a young boy sets off to try to catch a dragon. Time and time again, the friends try lots of fun tricks to try to lour the dragon to their traps. They utilize everything from noodles and sticky rice to Chinese drums to the mighty DRAGON DANCE!

Your little readers will enjoy reading along as they see this cleaver dragon outwits every trap the children set for him. They will also enjoy the crazy ideas the kids try to stop the dragon that is undoubtedly on the loose.
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How to Catch a Dragon opens with a boy, his mother, and his grandmother preparing for Chinese New Year. The boy overhears his mother saying that a dragon would bring health and fortune, so he sets out with a group of friends to capture a dragon. Despite a series of cleverly planned traps, the children never manage to catch the dragon they were hunting. The boy returns home with a small dragon that his mother appreciates. The brightly colored illustrations in this book are interesting and engaging. Young readers will enjoy seeing how the dragon manages to escape each of the traps. The illustrations capture the loving relationship that the boy has with his mother and grandmother. 

There is Chinese text incorporated in illustrations throughout the book. As an educator, I would love to know the translations for this text as it would add to the educational value.

I received a free copy of this title from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

#NetGalley #HowtoCatchaDragon
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A very cute picture book. With a focus on the Chinese New Year it gives background information to young children about how other cultures celebrate a holiday. The art work really sells this one - the reader can follow the dragon on each page. I was given an advance copy through NetGalley in a document form and did have some issues viewing the text but the overall effect of the story was very enjoyable, I know that there is a Mandarin translation in the back of the book but had a hard time navigating through this section. A great addition to share with children as they explore a new culture. Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the opportunity to review this book.
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I read this to some of our smaller cub scouts ages 5-8 along with their younger siblings and they all loved it! I exaggerated some of the words with my voice and everyone was wanting more! It was so fun and the story was really cute!
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Cute new title about Chinese New Year.  There are many Chinese New Year traditions woven into the story along with bilingual text.
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There is nothing really unique or awe-inspiring about this series but they circulate very well and kids love them so I purchase them.
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Cute story from the famous author of the "How to catch" series , but this has to be my favorite; its got a DRAGON!! The story incorporates Chinese New Year celebrations, customs and even the language! I really enjoyed the educational aspect of the Chinese customs and the highlighted words in English and the corresponding Chinese characters on select items throughout the story. Recommended!
#Howtocatchadragon #Netgalley
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Great illustrations and the this book definitely is trying to fill a needed niche.  The problem is...writing rhyming books is really hard.  There are very few of them that actually work for me.  Usually the rhythm feels off and the sentences sound twisted to my ears.  Unfortunately, this is one of those for me.
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Excellent addition to the How to Catch collection of tales. In this one, the story centers on kids trying to catch the Chinese New Year's dragon and learning that family and friends stick with one another through thick and thin. Wonderful illustrations and translated version in the back of the book. Perfect for any younger middle grade reader.

Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks Jaberwocky for the opportunity to read an advance reader copy.
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Another great ”How to Catch” book by Adam Wallace. Students will be excited to follow the journey to catch the dragon to bring heath and fortune, but can they do it? In this book, students will learn all about Chinese New Year. The translations by Suk Lee introduce children to a different language/culture and help them appreciate the tradition of the Chinese New Year. This book is a great read for young students!
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I really don't know how to feel about How to Catch a Dragon by Adam Wallace and illustrated by Andy Elkerton. On the one hand, I really wanted to enjoy the story, but on the other it's just kind of missing the mark. And I get that perhaps not all children's books have to make sense, but there are certain things about this book that give me pause. And it all comes down to Chinese culture and diversity.

I'm not understanding why this Chinese New Year seems to be set in the past, a pre-technology kind of feel surrounds the whole book, which wouldn't really be a problem  if they book didn't include a whole bunch of characters of different diversities. And perhaps I'm being a bit harsh, but I'm kind of baffled as to why a white kid needs to be involved in a book that's portraying a story about a cultural tradition of China. It kind of makes the whole thing feel Westernized, which isn't good.

With that said, I did really enjoy most of the artwork and though the meter of the poetry is way off, it didn't bother me so much that it took too much away from the story. I don't think a kid is really going to mind that either, but I will admit that I do think it takes a little bit away from the overall song-feel of the tale, which I believe was the purpose of rhyming in the first place. The story is simple and nice.

My favorite part, however, was the inclusion of Mandarin translated words both throughout the book and in the back. It's an excellent learning opportunity for some children. It definitely wouldn't be enough if one is looking to have their child learn a second language, but it's still a great inclusion.

So, in the end I'm somewhat back and forth regarding how I feel about this book. As I can't make up my mind, a rating of three seems reasonable.

I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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I enjoyed the fun this story weaves into the children trying to catch a dragon.  The simplicity of the pictures are not overwhelming.  They provide the right amount of art and support to what is being read in the text. In addition, the artwork is very colorful, and works well with the Chinese culture that the story is representing.  

This would be a very nice addition to any storytime selection of books, and most definitely to a library's collection.
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My beautiful, precocious, literature loving daughter and I read this together and are reviewing it in 2 parts. The first review will be my (not-so-tiny) munchkin's perspective and then I will chime in with my 2 cents.

Miss A: 9 years old
"I thought the book was cool because the pictures were bright and cheerful. I  especially liked the dragon. I think the rhyming made the story more fun. I was a bit confused with the Mandarin characters that were randomly given  because there weren't any explanations or even ways to pronounce them. My favorite parts were when the kids threw money around and when the dragon looked around the building with a mischievous look.

I loved the story's message. I think it was saying that even though they're really awesome, you don't need a dragon to be happy. 

I give it 4.5 Stars. I would have given it 5 stars if it was longer"

Me: :::mumble, mumble::: years old
I agreed almost wholeheartedly with my daughter...an increasingly rarer occurrence these days. The pictures were vibrant and the rhyming was cute. On the other hand, I found the book's brevity to be a little jarring. It felt like we were just getting into the meat and potatoes of the story when it was cut short. Yes, there was some plot resolution but I felt a little  cheated that the story was so succinct. We didn't know that there were other books in the series until we came across what I believed to be a contextual clue regarding tacos. Not having read the previous installments in the series did not negatively affect our understanding or enjoyment of the book. 

The moral I got from the story was: who needs a dragon when you're surrounded by loving family? As long as you have Family, you're already lucky and rich... in love.

Overall: this series would be a bigger hit, in my household, if it was a heartier/lengthier story. Maybe we weren't the optimal demographic for this read but we still enjoyed it.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.  

*** I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ***
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