Readers who delve into this title will find their interests piqued; they’ll be ready to move on to other works that explore...

READ REVIEW

M IS FOR MONSTER

A FANTASTIC CREATURES ALPHABET

Need an introduction to many of the creepy creatures of legends and fantasy books? Look no further—this alphabet book of monsters provides the need-to-know information.

Letter by letter, former U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate Lewis announces each creature, describing it with a brief stanza. “K is for Kraken // Of all the legends of the sea, / sailors and fishermen agree / (if they lived to tell my tale!), / I could wrestle shark or whale.” Supplementing this are a few paragraphs that provide succinct information including the monster’s origins, cultural significance and other amusing facts. Kelley's paintings are often darkly evocative and sometimes funny, rounding out the presentation. From the ubiquitous dragon, Frankenstein (both the monster and the doctor) and werewolf to the lesser-known quetzalcoatl, roc and Xing Tian (a headless giant of Chinese legend), readers will come away with a greater appreciation for the wide range of monsters—be they of the air, water or mountain—that have spooked humans for years.

Readers who delve into this title will find their interests piqued; they’ll be ready to move on to other works that explore these menacing fantastical beings more fully. (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58536-818-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are...

DRAGONS AND MARSHMALLOWS

From the Zoey and Sassafras series , Vol. 1

Zoey discovers that she can see magical creatures that might need her help.

That’s a good thing because her mother has been caring for the various beasts since childhood, but now she’s leaving on a business trip so the work will fall to Zoey. Most people (like Zoey’s father) can’t see the magical creatures, so Zoey, who appears in illustrations to be black, will have to experiment with their care by problem-solving using the scientific method to determine appropriate treatment and feeding. When a tiny, sick dragon shows up on her doorstep, she runs an experiment and determines that marshmallows appear to be the proper food. Unfortunately, she hadn’t done enough research beforehand to understand that although dragons might like marshmallows, they might not be the best food for a sick, fire-breathing baby. Although the incorporation of important STEM behaviors is a plus, the exposition is mildly clunky, with little character development and stilted dialogue. Many pages are dense with large-print text, related in Zoey’s not especially childlike voice. However, the inclusion in each chapter of a couple of attractive black-and-white illustrations of round-faced people and Zoey’s mischievous cat helps break up the narrative.

In spite of the book’s flaws, dragons are very appealing, and tales for young audiences that model the scientific method are nice to see. (Fantasy. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943147-08-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: The Innovation Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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