Kathy Tucker, , illus. by Grace Lin. . Albert Whitman, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-7309-9

While this updated version of the classic Chinese folktale stands on its own as a reasonably entertaining story, readers familiar with the original may find it watered-down. Six of seven sisters possess distinct talents that come in handy when a hungry, red dragon snatches their baby sister, whose talent has yet to be discovered. Tucker (Do Pirates Take Baths?) eschews the superhuman attributes granted each hero of "The Seven Chinese Brothers" in favor of more readily shared skills, from knowledge of karate to counting beyond 500 to making delicious noodle soup. Eye-pleasing patterns abound in Lin's (Dim Sum for Everyone!) vibrant, atmospheric illustrations, as in the faint swirl motif that textures the blue sky and the diverse prints of each girl's mandarin-collared robe. Lin adds comic touches (the dragon, clutching his salt shaker, adopts a foppish pose next to little Seventh Sister, who has been plunked into an oversize rice bowl); but, however amusing, they don't always jive with the text (the narrative opposite this painting reads: "They could smell smoke and hear the most awful roars"). Such incongruities lower the stakes in the story, but reinforce its perky, can-do tone. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)