Another book that has potential and then just fizzled out for me was The Yin-Yang Sisters and the Dragon Frightful. It was another book that I thought pages had stuck together, I had missed something or if the unfinished copy had pages go out of order. I could tell that Nancy Tupper Ling had put in a lot of effort into her text, but sadly, it was lost on me. I just could not get into it. It was Andrea Offermann’s illustrations that made the book for me.
These illustrations have a classic Asian feel to them, while being modern, too. There is a lot of amazing colors that are bright and just pop off the page. The details are fabulous and move an otherwise not as strong as I would have hoped story along. I have not read anything else that Offermann has illustrated but realized I have admired their work before. Currently, The Thicket series by J.A. White is perhaps their best-known work. The School Library Journal comment covers it best with: “Offermann’s art is culturally sound and striking in its depiction of the villagers’ dress and the beauty of the rice terraces.”
The story of the dragon itself was interesting, but how the sisters come into play was the part I had to backtrack on. Ling was trying to make a “girl positive” story but forgot to add the story. There is one part where a sister “then runs out” without any reasoning why. Or any explanation to what her sister grabs to help her. I like the comment of Kirkus Review: “The prose riffs satisfyingly on folklore conventions….” because it does try to (sisters instead of brothers and using smarts instead of force) yet, falls a smidgen short for me.