Fanciful pretend play for the dragon-slaying preschooler.

READ REVIEW

I WILL NOT EAT YOU

A cave-dwelling monster named Theodore ponders potential foodstuffs.

Two enormous oval eyes peer out of a dark cave’s entrance, glowing pink in the sunrise, yellow in the morning light, and teal in the evening light. As various animals—a wolf, a bird, and a tiger—pass in front, Theodore considers eating each one but decides he’s not that hungry and utters the titular refrain: “I will not eat you.” A small white boy dressed in a blue hoodie and mud-splashed galoshes and wielding a metal trashcan-lid shield trots up to the cave on a hobbyhorse. He shines his flashlight into the cave and roars a great roar at Theodore. “Seriously?” thinks Theodore. “I should eat it.” Thus begins an epic battle between a pretend knight and what readers finally see to be a massive, horned, bearded red dragon. As Lehrhaupt spins this tale with deadpan humor, readers never fear for the boy. Magoon’s exuberant art recalls classic characters, most particularly Max in his wolf suit. The digital illustrations emulate mixed-media images: some leaves resemble block prints, and short, thin, penlike highlights enliven the animals’ fur. The text is hand-lettered. As the action escalates, Theodore becomes festooned with flowers that reflect the bright yellow glow of the flashlight’s beam. The palette, though dark, is never menacing.

Fanciful pretend play for the dragon-slaying preschooler. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2933-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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A deterministic message detracts from the math.

TEN MAGIC BUTTERFLIES

For 10 flower friends, the grass is always greener…in the sky.

Ten Fantasia-like flowers with adorable faces and leaf arms/hands love being together and basking in the sun, but they also can’t help wanting to break free of their roots and fly when they see the fairies flitting about in the moonlight. One night, “Said the tiny blue one, / ‘Fairy up in the sky, / you see, I’m a flower, / but I want to fly.’ ” While the fairy is puzzled at the flower’s discontent, she grants its wish and transforms it into a butterfly. One by one the others join their mate in the sky as butterflies, each one’s color reflecting its flower origin. At daybreak, though, the new butterflies regret the transformation, and the understanding fairy changes them back again: “But big and tall, / or short and small, / being ourselves / is best of all!” Really? There isn’t even one flower that would really rather fly all the time? Throughout, McKellar emphasizes that there are always 10 in all, though some may be flowers and some butterflies at any given point. The endpapers reinforce ways to make 10 by showing 11 combinations, all in two rows of five, which may confuse children, rather than always keeping butterflies separate from flowers and allowing one row to be longer than the other. The bright colors, butterflies, flowers, and the fairy, who is a dark-skinned pixie with long black hair, seem calibrated to attract girly audiences.

A deterministic message detracts from the math. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-93382-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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