Legend of the Chinese Dragon

by Casey Lambert

Author: Marie Sellier

Illustrator: Catherine Louis Calligraphy

Calligraphy & Chop Marks: Wang Fei

Genre: Picture story book, Folktale, myth

Topic/Theme: Not everyone has the same values or gets along, but we have to accept each others' differences.

Award(s) nominated or received: none (couldn't find any)

Citation: Sellier, M., Louis, C., Fei, W., Kazeroid, S.(2007). Legend of the Chinese Dragon. New York: North-South Books Inc.

About the Author: Marie Sellier

About the Author:

  • Marie Sellier is a French born author who has a passion for art.
  • She has written numerous children''s books about various artists such as Renoir, Chagall, Picasso, Cezanne, and Van Gogh.
  • She has written other multicultural books such as What the Rat Told Me (tells legend of the chinese zodiac), and L'Afrique, Petit Chaka (about Africa).

About the Illustrator: Catherine Louis

  • Catherine Louis was born in Switzerland
  • Has written books along with Sellier as well as on her own
  • Has a passion for China in both her work and life
  • Has illustrated about 100 books which have been translated into German, Italian, Dutch, English, Czech, Korean and Chinese


The people of China lived in tribes, and each tribe was protected by an animal spirit:

Those who lived by the ocean were protected by the fish.

Those who lived in the mountains were protected by the bird.

Those who lived in the low plains were protected by the horse.

Those who lived in the high plains were protected by the serpent.

Those who lived in the rice fields were protected by the ox.

The tribes often fought against each other, so the children of China decided to create an animal that would protect and watch over all the people. They combined parts of the fish, bird, horse, serpent and ox to create their animal which they call the dragon. When the people saw what the children had created, they made peace with one another. The dragon remains a symbol of peace, and plays an important role at Chinese celebrations.


Legend of the Chinese Dragon by caseylambert808


Louis used "woodcuts" in her illustrations along with bright colors


2. Be rich in cultural details

The book presented information about Chinese history that was done in an easy to follow and understandable way for young readers. At the end it describe the present cultural significance of the dragon in chinese culture.

3. Honor and celebrate diversity as well as common bonds in humanity

I think the idea of war and peace is common throughout many cultures and one we can all relate to. Not everyone has the same values or gets along, but accepting that we are all different is something we all have to accept.

10. Have an appealing format and be of endearing quality

The book was illustrated simply and beautifully, as well as the added touch of Chinese chop marks on each page. The mythical depiction of the dragon is great because you can really see each individual creature in the dragon.

Classroom Teaching Application

Grade Levels: K-5

Common Core ELA Standard (3rd Grade):

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.2 - Recount stories, including fables, folktales, and myths from diverse cultures; determine the central message, lesson, or moral and explain how it is conveyed through key details in the text.

Objective: The student will identify the importance of the dragon in Chinese culture.


  • This could be a great book to introduce during the Chinese New Year (end of January-1st 2 weeks of February) to emphasize how different cultures celebrate holidays differently.
  • Have students discuss and/or write a journal about how their families celebrate New Year's and share. Talk about how different cultures celebrate holidays differently and at different times of year.
  • Read Legend of the Chinese Dragon - talk about how mythical creatures can have deep meaning to people of various cultures.
  • Have students create their own mythical creature that represents their family (use 3-4 animals) and have them write a short story that explains their creature and how it came to be.
  • Could extend teaching by having students research another holiday of a culture