Not exactly dreamy.



Jacob the Sandman befriends the Night Monster when he goes to gather dream sand.

Drescher’s text, translated from German, is heavy on exposition as it tells readers about an evening when the elfin Sandman, Jacob, oversleeps and neglects his duty to sprinkle dream sand over the homes of sleeping children in order to give them good dreams. When he and his helper, Milo the mouse (just a head shorter than Jacob), belatedly arrive at the hilltop to gather the sand, they find the massive, reptilian Night Monster and are afraid until they realize that he’s a misunderstood, kindhearted soul. He says he’s afraid of the dark, and he goes into children’s bedrooms to seek a cozy place for himself, and he never means to scare anyone. Jacob and Milo then welcome the monster to accompany them on their dream-sand–sprinkling mission in their hot air balloon, and after that they welcome him back to Jacob’s cozy home and rename him Albie. The story is every bit as haphazard and meandering as this summary makes it seem, and redundant art does little to elevate it, though the full-bleed, double-page–spread watercolors are better-executed and more appealing than the writing is.

Not exactly dreamy. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78250-525-9

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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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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