Told in verse, Falling into the Dragon's Mouth by Holly Thompson is a cute enough story for middle school students to easily relate to and pick up on the overt message of anti-bullying. The underlying themes of friends, forgiveness, and filial duty are well done and weave the story together nicely. It is an easy read and both boys and girls should enjoy taking a look at an Americans time in the Japan of today. The look at Japanese education and culture is well done and easily explained by the protagonist, Jason Parker, as he struggles to complete the sixth grade in a Japanese middle school. Trying to deal with classmates who look down on him or ignore him because he is American is the main focus of this story. Taking care of his younger sister while his parents work hard to be able to save enough money for Jason to go an International school, creates some interesting and humorous situations. The climax is scary but quite realistic and shows students that they can't always deal with bullies on their own as Jason tried to do. The real disappointment was that there wasn't more cultural information included for students to truly understand Japanese culture. They simply get a cursory look at it, which is probably all a middle school verse told story is going to be able to do.
Falling into the Dragon's Mouth
|Title||Falling into the Dragon's Mouth|
|Year of Publication||2016|
|Number of Pages||352|
|Publisher||Henry Holt and Co.|
n a Japanese seaside neighborhood lives Jason Parker: