Franklin the dragon loves stories and wants to share them by reading out loud.
Franklin reads every day, from King Arthur to baking, spiders to ballet, and everything in between. He even reads at nighttime, by the light of 1,000 fireflies. He is eager to share the stories with the nearby villagers, a diverse population, but they are terrified by his size and run away. That is, all except for one redheaded young white girl who loves both dragons and reading. Franklin has found a kindred spirit. Luna and he come up with a plan to share all the stories they’ve read. With the help of the mice and bats from Franklin’s cave, they build a small, lopsided bookshop atop Franklin’s back, and off they fly to the village. Before long, the curious villagers climb up to look at the books. Luna passes out cake while Franklin tells stories and everyone listens. The illustrations have a rustic, folksy feel and sport chalky textures. Franklin often expands beyond the frame, emphasizing his size. Small details in the art and text plump up the story: apron-wearing mice use a mixer to stir a bowl of batter; gi-clad bats practice kung fu. Unfortunately, it’s all a little too quirky to cohere, the notion of a flying, dragon-back bookshop just a little too precious and inorganic to the story.
Overall, there isn’t a lot of spark in this dragon bookmobile. (Picture book. 5-8)