cover image Fire and Stone

Fire and Stone

Ursula K. Le Guin, Leguin. Atheneum Books, $13.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-689-31408-7

This intriguing myth is vividly illustrated by newcomer Marshall. A dragon terrorizes a town until a boy and a girl, Min and Podo, realize that the dragon's cry, ``RRRAAAHHHX!'' is his attempt to ask for rocks, which he then eats. The townspeople join the children in throwing rocks to the dragon who is ``as quick as a barn swallow catching gnats.'' When ``all its fire and hunger'' is filled up, the dragon turns into stone, and Min and Podo, sitting among the scaly stones of Dragon Hill, sing the sunrise song: ``Sun is fire, Earth is stone. / Sing together at the dawn!'' Like a yellow-orange costume from a Chinese dragon dance, the dragon is appropriately fearsome before fading to a mossy green. Marshall's colors are clean and clear, but her plump, glassy-eyed people remain inexplicably and eerily solemn throughout, even when the danger has passed. Ages 6-8. (Mar.)