THERE’S A DRAGON DOWNSTAIRS

McKay and Harvey offer a resolution both comforting and logical to the perennial issue of noises in the night. Every night, Sophie hears a dragon “Rattling through the cat flap. Slinking to the living room. Growing and growing in the dark.” But by the time she stumbles down, dressed in cardboard armor, carrying a “pump-action supersonic water squirter,” or dressed in her princess outfit, the room is empty. Using scribbly pencil strokes to create shadows in rooms decorated with a large and scattered collection of plush dinosaurs, Harvey depicts Sophie as a small figure in which anxiety and resolution are clearly mixed; when at last the child sneaks down quietly in her pj’s, she discovers that there really is a “dragon”—of the feline variety. This import’s repeating structure and cozy close make it a natural for reading aloud, at bedtime or any other. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-689-86774-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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Well-crafted bedtime reading featuring an unusually captivating monster.

DRAGON NIGHT

A boy and a dragon bond over a shared fear—sort of.

Actually, “Georgie is afraid of the night,” and the dragon that crawls out of his copy of St. George and the Dragon is (with some justice!) “afraid of the knight.” The mutual anxiety is close enough, though, to send both winging out through Georgie’s bedroom window in search of safety. The two come at last to rest on a dark hillside, where the dragon points out stars, shooting stars, and the soothing sounds of crickets to the boy in its lap—and next day, back in the bedroom, Georgie returns the favor, concocting a safe haven for the dragon by creating a new story book with a friendlier knight. Cozy interchanges between the two (“ ‘Will the knight want to fight?’ asks the dragon. ‘Instead of fighting, the knight loves to play catch,’ replies Georgie. ‘What if the knight doesn’t like me?’ asks the dragon. ‘Don’t worry,’ says Georgie. ‘I’ll help you’ ”) give the narrative an intimate tone that Krause reinforces with shadowy pictures, done in thick lines and dark hues, pairing a tiny boy who presents Asian and an improbably huge but vulnerable-looking, even at times tearful, dragon.

Well-crafted bedtime reading featuring an unusually captivating monster. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51424-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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It’s good to see an active girl in medieval times, but this dragon story never really soars.

BABY DRAGON, BABY DRAGON!

A bright red baby dragon flies around a village of the European past with a young child chasing after.

Readers first spot the child, cued as a girl with long pigtails, pitching hay into a wagon, but all of a sudden, she is in a castle with a sword at her side. She wears a sleeveless green tunic and gray leggings, and it is hard to tell who she is within the hierarchy of her world. She speaks to the dragon: “Baby dragon, baby dragon, what a fast flight!” Marr uses this admiring, repetitive, rhythmic phrasing throughout the story but lets readers down by following up not with a rhyme but with bland prose text: “Baby dragon, baby dragon, what a big climb! / You scale tall walls and go up so high.” The girl clearly enjoys keeping up with the fun-loving dragon, flying on its back, looking at its treasures, and even cuddling up in its nest, but the text is persistently pedestrian. There is a strong sense of movement in the cartoonlike illustrations, created with both traditional and digital media. The child protagonist is light-skinned; some diversity among the kingdom’s inhabitants is shown in an amusing feasting scene in which the dragon fastidiously eats with the very tip of its tail, a bib around its neck.

It’s good to see an active girl in medieval times, but this dragon story never really soars. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-17525-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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