I came across a website called “what to do when you can’t remember the title of a long lost children’s book” and I used their guide to scrape the inside of my skull for details to give your group-mind.
Now, I’m only assuming the title of the book is “Dragon of the Mountain,” but I could be mistaken. That’s just… what the book was about, and since nothing comes up on Google or Amazon, I’m probably mistaken. Maybe it was Tears of the Dragon, or who knows, uh, Dragon Mountain and How the River Came To Be or…. take a guess and yours is as good as mine, honestly. So, here are my scrapings:
STORY–Write down what you do know about the story.
It’s about an Asian (Chinese? Japanese? I don’t know where, just somewhere in Asia…) folk tale of a village that lives in fear of the Dragon of the Mountain, except for one little boy who goes up to visit the dragon, because he thinks the dragon must be very lonely, and then the dragon starts to weep with joy, and floods the land, and the boy is going to drown, but the dragon takes him on his back and they float down the river of tears together, and the dragon turns into a boat, and sacrifices himself to save the boy.
Do you remember character names or where the story took place?
The title character is the dragon, and it takes place somewhere in pre-industrial Asia. Can’t be more specific than that.
Were there anthropomorphized animals in the story?
Only the dragon, insomuch as he was able to speak and reason. He was still fully a dragon, of course.
Do you think the person reading the story to you may have “improvised” a bit?
No one read the story to me, but given that it is a folk-tale, I would assume the author probably did.
ILLUSTRATIONS–What do you remember about the illustrations?
Were they colorful or monotone?
Very colorful illustrations!
Very detailed or line drawings?
I have the impression in my mind that they were watercolors, but that might just be because of the subject matter, with all the tears and the flooding and the boat and it being an Asian story.
Did they fill the page or just accompany the text?
Just like a Dr. Seuss book.
Do they remind you of any specific illustrator or artist’s style?
Uh, watercolors. They were beautiful watercolors, at least in my mind’s eye they are.
BOOK FEATURES–Physical features are important, too: was the book you read hardback or paperback?
It was hardback.
Was it a picture book or chapter book?
It was a picture book.
What color were the covers?
My memory is extremely vague on this, but I remember a predominantly maroon-ish feeling. I honestly never paid much attention to the cover, I was interested in the inside, not the outside.
Was there a dust jacket?
I don’t remember one, but I don’t have dust jackets from any of my books from back then.
How big was the book?
Similar to a standard Little Golden Book or Dr. Seuss Book.
Were the pages glossy or matte?
I believe they were glossy.
MEMORIES–Personal information is also helpful. How old were you when you remember reading the book and what year was it?
I’m pretty sure I had it at least by the age of eight, which would be 1979.
Were you able to read it yourself or did you need someone to read it to you?
I read it entirely on my own.
Do you think it was a book bought for you at the time or was it a hand-me-down from an older sibling or a parent?
I believe it was bought for me, though I could be mistaken.
Was it borrowed from a public library for you to read?
No, I owned it.
Did you read it in school or at home?
It was my own book, I read it at home.
I just would love, as all your customers would, to be reunited with my old friend.
How about this one?
The Tears of the Dragon
Hirosuke Hamada, Alvin Tresselt (Translator), Chihiro Iwasaki (Illustrator)
When young Akito hears tales of the fierce dragon in the mountains, he sets out to meet the beast in the hopes of befriending it. A sweet Japanese tale by Hirosuke Hamada, illustrated by Chihiro Iwasake, with the English version by Alvin Tresselt.
Absolute chills up my spine! I am literally in tears right now! You found my book!
I recognize the artwork on the cover. And I was right, most of the cover was red (brighter than I remembered, but still, red)! Seriously, the face of the dragon on the cover – – specifically the look in his eyes – that’s what made me shudder. I remember those eyes, they always frightened me a little bit, and seeing those eyes again, I feel like a child again, slightly afraid of what that dragon knew, that wise Chinese dragon, with all his secrets and his sinister eyes…. I’m just… WOW! WOOOOWWWWWW!
Bonnie, I will never forget this. You cannot know what you’ve given me back. I can’t stop crying, and they really ARE tears of absolute joy! I might just start a flood myself! Good thing I can touch-type!
My mother and aunt literally stole this book (among other childhood items) from me in my late teens, and justified it by telling me I was “too old for this kid stuff” and they gave it all to my younger cousin, who promptly lost, destroyed, or gave away my treasures. Most of it cannot be recovered, but this particular book stayed in my mind for all these years, and has become symbolic of all those things I lost. Its recovery makes up for a lot of the loss, and softens the pain immensely. There are generational wounds in my family that I am trying so hard to heal. This is a battle you have helped me win, and it means so much to me.
The order has been placed, and if the fates allow, the book will be in my hands Thursday the 13th. I live in anticipation until then. I’ve made the cover image my computer’s wallpaper until that day! Again, a thousand thousand thank yous, and thank you to everyone who made this website and this group of wonderful miracle workers possible! You are amazing, every last one of you!
You’re very welcome. Glad I could help. 🙂
I’m thinking it sounds like a Laurence Yep book, “The Dragon of the Lost Sea,” though the details aren’t completely exact.