The Dragons of Pan Gu
by Kevin White
Rex White, illustrator
////////////Short Review (click here)
Website: Light and dark, hot and cold, wet and dry, male and female, perhaps even intelligence and imagination… seemingly at odds from the dawn of creation… dragons embodying the endless struggle for control… and finding that, in struggle, balance is achieved… and somewhere in the mists of time and wisdom, a grandfather discovers that balance is a gift best given.
First Sentence: Long ago, Pan Gu walked in the void of the heavens.
About the Story: The Dragons of Pan Gu is the story of Earth’s creation. Pan Gu is a lonely man, all alone in the universe. He decides to plant a seed on which he pins his joy. The seed becomes Earth, but it is barren. Pan Gu realizes Earth needs a source of power and he creates the Black Dragon. This dragon pulls a cloak of darkness as it travels passed Earth. The cold, frost, and snow the dragon produces makes Earth cold, dark, and barren.
Pan Gu thinks again and creates the White Dragon. This dragon causes light to shine upon Earth as it passes by. The smoke and fire from its breathe causes scorching winds that burns all it touches, and the Earth remains barren. Pan Gu calls both dragons over, but they could not get along. The Black Dragon chased the White Dragon, who chased the Black Dragon. A great power struggled ensued and Earth clashed with the dragon’s abilities. Pan Gu needs to find a solution, else Earth will never be his seed of joy.
What I Think: I had to read this a couple times to understand the gist of it all. I like the little Buddha man Pan Gu. Pan Gu reaches inside himself and his mind to create the seed, and then into his vast knowledge and logic to form one dragon; his ideas and dreams to create the other. I think the author is saying Earth was not a random event, but rather a thought–out event, created to please the creator, and part of the creator. The Black Dragon represents darkness and cold, while the White represents sun and warmth. I think kids will easily understand this even at an early age. I think this story is an interesting way to explain the creation of Earth to a generation raised on knights and dragons. Kids will quickly recognize these objects even at an early age.
I liked the image of the Black Dragon chasing the White Dragon, who chased the Black Dragon, circling around and around the Earth. They are our 24-hour day, as they chase the tail of the other. Maybe, when one or the other actually bites a chunk of the other’s tail, a vicious storm pours down upon Earth, or extremely high temperatures develop. It is just a thought.
The Dragons of Pan Gu is an imaginative story. The illustrations show Pan Gu, lonely and sad, having never smiled. He stands among the stars, but an outline in the heavens, deciding how to soothe himself. Pan Gu’s emotions are easy to read for a line drawing. That is how good the illustrations are in this book. The two White brothers make a good team. Their other picture book, Stubby Pencil Noodlehead (review is HERE), was the beginning of this team’s collaboration.
I believe kids will enjoy this story of Earth’s creation and even learn from the elements (no pun intended). The fanciful dragons will catch youngster’s eyes as the dragons fight and clash against each other. The Dragons of Pan Gu would find many uses in the classroom, from a study on Chinese lore to the relationships between young and old. The Dragons of Pan Gu is also a beautifully illustrated story that will be appreciated by those who collect children’s literature.
The Dragons of Pan Gu
Ages: 7 to 10
© 2013 by Chimeric Press, used with permission
Text: Copyright © 2013 by Kevin White
Illustrations: Copyright © 2013 by Rex White
DONATED TO LOCAL PUBLIC LIBRARY