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ROAR-CHOO! by Charlotte Cheng


by Charlotte Cheng ; illustrated by Dan Santat

Pub Date: April 9th, 2024
ISBN: 9780593531754
Publisher: Rocky Pond Books/Penguin

Being fierce is hard when you’re struggling with a cold.

A serpentine scaly green dragon with a flowing orange mane and big teeth and claws fills the page. Our hero explains to Phoenix how tough and terrifying dragons are. “We take on the world with a mighty ROOOOOAAAR…CHOO!” Dragon’s sneeze practically blows Phoenix out of the air. Phoenix tries to help by offering orange ginger tea, a blanket, a scarf, and bone broth soup, but Dragon is having none of it. Dragon’s attempts at roaring turn into big sneezes, however—until one fiery sneeze causes an inferno that Phoenix must douse. Phoenix, whose energy is now flagging, suggests taking a nap. One more sneeze later, and Phoenix is practically drooping with fatigue as the two friends switch roles. Using a palette of greens, oranges, and golds, Santat depicts the two creatures as larger-than-life cartoons with humorously expressive features. Every page is packed with color and action, but the text feels static in comparison, perhaps because of its small size and lack of variation (a missed opportunity for a typesetting design that matches the exuberance and personality of the two characters). Nevertheless, this simple but entertaining tale will be a pleasure to read aloud. An author’s note discusses the significance of the dragon and the phoenix in Chinese mythology.

A funny premise, executed with verve.

(Picture book. 3-7)