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The Dragons in a Foreign Land

Aino Pervik

  • Illustrator: Piret Raud
  • Language: Estonian
  • Tiritamm
  • 2002, 64 pp
  • ISBN: 9985551494
  • fiction, picturebook
  • Age: 5+
This is a story on the hot topics of today's world – war, refugee life in a foreign country, the clash of different cultures and resulting mutual distrust and animosity – in the form of a fairy tale. The main characters are a pleasant and good-natured family of dragons – a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, and two children. The country where they are able to escape to from war has never even seen a dragon before. The creatures, held in high esteem in Eastern countries as bringers of good fortune, are suddenly confronted with a whole range of trials and humiliation. They are given new names because no one knows how to pronounce their real names, and the grandmother, who knows thousands of hieroglyphics by heart, is regarded as illiterate, because she doesn't know the simple letter "a". The dragons are even blamed for natural disasters, whether forest fires or floods, and the problems are intensified by the sensation-seeking media.
The author tells among other things what happens when there are many refugees, and their foreign way of living begins to overshadow local customs. The ready-to-help and well-intentioned dragon family does everything on its part to adapt to the local environment. As always, the children are the first to make friends and adapt.
In the fairy tale, the complex problems are happily resolved. The dragons win the hearts of the locals with their great, brave actions. The war ends, and the dragons finally return home.

2003 Best-Designed Books of the Baltic States, Certificate of Merit
2002 25 Best-Designed Estonian Books
2002 5 Best-Designed Estonian Children’s Books