A wandering effort, happy but pointless.


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 Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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Out in time for the chilliest season, this offers a solution to winter blues while adding to the growing list of yeti...


When the winter gets rough, what is a yeti to do?

Readers follow a nameless yeti accompanied by a stuffed toy yeti in a simple narrative. Yetis love several things about winter: waking up to quiet, snowy mornings, drinking hot chocolate, sliding down hills, building snow castles, frolicking in the snow and pretending to be Godzilla, ice-skating “Yeti style” (belly down). Nevertheless, it isn’t entirely grand for yetis in the winter, for they, too, experience winter blues, when hot-chocolate supplies have been depleted and their cold, wet fur won’t dry. And so they miss the warm summer: playing outdoors for long hours, looking for sea creatures, producing sea-monster beauty contests, building sand castles, and zipping down splashy slides, also yeti-style. They miss the summer nights and listening to the sound of crickets, wishing on shooting stars, and gazing at the hundreds of fireflies. Vogel, in his debut as both author and illustrator, contrasts the white, gray, barren winter spreads with lively green backyards, sunny beach days, and blue summer nights. The yeti’s expressions merit great attention, as do the nod to a yeti-fied version of a Sendak classic and such important scene-setting details as the radiators found in cold-weather homes.

Out in time for the chilliest season, this offers a solution to winter blues while adding to the growing list of yeti protagonists. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4170-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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Friendship and supportive verbal encouragement help overcome fearful resistance in this pleasant if not especially...


Learning to fly is a scary idea for Little Iffy, who is a “bitty griffin…part lion and part eagle.”

Just the thought of being up in the air is terrifying. Little Iffy wonders how he would descend and chooses to safely stay down. Eggs Pegasus, Iffy’s flying-horse friend, hatches several plans on the playground to help him take off. He is encouraged to swing high, go down the slide, or be lifted by his friends and to “flap your wings” each time. But the frightened little griffin politely declines all suggestions. “No, thank you. Down is best.” Searching for the safest spot, Iffy sits on “the down-est place he can find”—the seesaw—only to be thrown straight up in the air when his friends, stacked one on top of each other, tumble onto the raised side. “Whoops!” / “Yikes!” Soaring up, Iffy grabs onto a floating red balloon and begins to descend slowly until a bee’s stinger pops it, sending Iffy down much more rapidly. “FLAP YOUR WINGS, LITTLE IFFY!!!” And just like that, Iffy is flying. It’s hardly an original story, but simple, unencumbered dialogue and easy phrasing carry it along, and little listeners may repeat those heartening words of encouragement. Rounded, digital cartoon art of cuddly mythological creatures (there are also a dragon, faun, and unidentifiable blue figure) in pale hues sustain the central message.

Friendship and supportive verbal encouragement help overcome fearful resistance in this pleasant if not especially remarkable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5039-3986-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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