The White Ravens Database

Presented by   Internationale Jugendbibliothek / International Youth Library

Japanese / Japan

Chibi ryū

(The little dragon)

Kudō, Naoko (text)
Abe, Hiroshi (illus.)
Tōkyō: Dōshinsha, 2019. – 39 p.
ISBN 978-4-494-01246-6

Reading age: 5+

White Ravens issue: 2020


Hiroshi Abe (b. 1948) is acclaimed for his lively and humorous animal illustrations, which are based on his experiences as a zookeeper for 25 years. He has broken new ground with his picture book “Chibi ryū”, which is, quite unexpectedly, about an imaginary creature. Naoko Kudō (b. 1935), one of Japan’s leading children’s poets, provides the rhythmical and graceful language, which is as impressive as Abe’s astonishingly dynamic illustrations, particularly on the last fold-out spread. Using a limited colour palette, Abe breathes life into all animals and plants, from the tiniest to the grandest. The dragon, which was born in the water among mosquito larvae, learns how to fly from a dragonfly and how to appreciate life in the water from a Crucian carp. As he grows, he flies above the clouds, breathes fire, creates winds, clouds and rain, and finally becomes a force in the universe. This picture book, celebrating the joy of living on the Earth, aims to inspire children, all of whom have unbounded potential. [RN]