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)