Overall, there isn’t a lot of spark in this dragon bookmobile.

READ REVIEW

FRANKLIN'S FLYING BOOKSHOP

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)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-500-65109-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text.

BO'S MAGICAL NEW FRIEND

From the Unicorn Diaries series , Vol. 1

A unicorn learns a friendship lesson in this chapter-book series opener.

Unicorn Bo has friends but longs for a “bestie.” Luckily, a new unicorn pops into existence (literally: Unicorns appear on especially starry nights) and joins Bo at the Sparklegrove School for Unicorns, where they study things like unicorn magic. Each unicorn has a special power; Bo’s is granting wishes. Not knowing what his own might be distresses new unicorn Sunny. When the week’s assignment is to earn a patch by using their unicorn powers to help someone, Bo hopes Sunny will wish to know Bo's power (enabling both unicorns to complete the task, and besides, Bo enjoys Sunny’s company and wants to help him). But when the words come out wrong, Sunny thinks Bo was feigning friendship to get to grant a wish and earn a patch, setting up a fairly sophisticated conflict. Bo makes things up to Sunny, and then—with the unicorns friends again and no longer trying to force their powers—arising circumstances enable them to earn their patches. The cheerful illustrations feature a sherbet palette, using patterns for texture; on busy pages with background colors similar to the characters’ color schemes, this combines with the absence of outlines to make discerning some individual characters a challenge. The format, familiar to readers of Elliott’s Owl Diaries series, uses large print and speech bubbles to keep pages to a manageable amount of text.

A surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-32332-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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When Fred leaves his parents for the first time, his plans to be a ferocious dragon hit a snag. First Mrs. Green, the frog,...

A POOR EXCUSE FOR A DRAGON

Fred learns how to be true to himself and still be a dragon.

When Fred leaves his parents for the first time, his plans to be a ferocious dragon hit a snag. First Mrs. Green, the frog, mocks his roar as being like a meow, so, though Fred is supposed to eat humans, he gobbles her in one gulp. The princess thinks Fred’s fire looks like a candle, and a tiny bird is not afraid of him. They too meet in Fred’s tummy. Turns out, three’s a crowd for Fred’s stomach, and his intestinal pain leads him a solution that works for him and his crowd of helpers and new friends. Designed to encourage confident reading, the story alternates between long pages of text and highly illustrated pages with few words. Cartoon illustrations, especially details like the dragon’s red eyes and the giant’s warts and earring, help the newly independent reader follow the story, providing lots of visual cues which add the humor. When human John Little voluntarily walks into Fred’s open mouth and extricates his complaining contents, the illustrations turn energetic, with flying critters filling the air. New readers will love the humorous pictures and stay for the engaging tale.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-87180-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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