An enchanting pre-teen read. This story involves 10 year old Ping, who is a young run-away slave and Danzi, an aging, imperial Dragon. The setting is 141 BCE China.
At a very young age, Ping had been sold into slavery by her parents. She does all the work that Master Lan is too lazy to do, including caring for the farm animals, which includes 2 Imperial Dragons. When one of the dragons dies, Ping becomes determines to take better care of the surviving one. Through a series of unforeseeable events, Ping and Danzi run away. Danzi is compelled to go to the ocean. The story follows their adventures/mis-adventures along the route.
While travelling, Ping is exposed to much that she had never known while a slave. While learning the everyday skills of living, she also develops the 'mystical' skills of a Dragon Keeper.
I feel that this is a positive book for a young person. While Ping is not formally educated, she comes to realize that she had learned many skills while dealing with Master Lan, that can be applied in everyday life. She just needed the confidence in herself to apply them when needed.