Like the last sip of a chocolate milkshake, it’s very satisfying.

READ REVIEW

DUNCAN THE STORY DRAGON

A story-reading dragon—what’s not to like?

Duncan the Dragon loves to read. But the stories so excite him, his imagination catches fire—and so do his books, leaving him wondering about the endings. Does the captain save the ship? Do aliens conquer the Earth? Desperate to reach the all-important words “The End” (“like the last sip of a chocolate milk shake”), he tries reading in the refrigerator, in front of a bank of electric fans, and even in a bathtub filled with ice. Nothing works. He decides to ask a friend to read to him, but the raccoon, possum, and bull all refuse. Weeping, Duncan is ready to give up, but one of his draconic tears runs “split-splat into a mouse,” a book-loving mouse! Together they battle sea monsters, dodge icebergs, and discover new lands, giving rise to a fast friendship. Driscoll’s friendly illustrations are pencil sketches painted in Adobe Photoshop; she varies full-bleed paintings with vignettes surrounded by white space, imaginary scenes rendered in monochrome to set them apart. Duncan himself is green, winged, and scaly, but his snout is unthreateningly bovine, and he wears red sneakers with his shoelaces untied—a nicely vulnerable touch. Though there are lots of unusual friendship stories in picture books, the vivid colors, expressive faces, and comic details make this one likely to be a storytime hit.

Like the last sip of a chocolate milkshake, it’s very satisfying. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-75507-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

RUBY FINDS A WORRY

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings . (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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