Except for the chocolate cure, it’s much like trying to care for an oversized cat…that, OK, breathes fire.

THE DRAGONSITTER

From the Dragonsitter series , Vol. 1

Caring for a traveling relative’s pet isn’t usually quite so…fraught.

In a series of increasingly frantic email messages to his oddly unresponsive uncle Morton, young Edward Smith-Pickle recounts a series of household mishaps caused by the large dragon so hastily dropped off to mind for a week. For one thing, the animal isn’t housetrained. For another, what does it even eat—besides little sister Emily’s bunny? In the wake of incidents ranging from scorched curtains to a hole torn in the refrigerator, Edward’s disgusted mom would happily foist the beast off on the police or the zoo, if only they didn’t keep hanging up on her. But worse disasters are warded off when Uncle Morton at last writes back to suggest feeding the creature chocolate, and the dragon is instantly transformed from surly headache into a charming, compliant companion. Good thing, because Uncle Morton has upcoming junkets planned, and this short opener, first published overseas in 2012, already has four sequels either out or planned. Amid Edward’s pleas and Morton’s soothing replies, Parsons intersperses large scenes of domestic chaos, frowning (later smiling) people, and an inscrutable, horse-sized dragon flopped bonelessly on the sofa.

Except for the chocolate cure, it’s much like trying to care for an oversized cat…that, OK, breathes fire. (Farce. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-29896-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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This gorgeously illustrated, inventive book is sure to entrance young readers.

AND A BOOK

THE INHABITANTS OF MYTH

Creatures from mythology break the fourth wall (or page) in this surrealistic guide by author/illustrator Molinet.

A young reader, carrying crumb cake, milk, and the same book readers hold, begins to flip through the pages of the book. On the left page of each spread, a mythological creature, introduced by a rhyming couplet, responds to the actions of the reader, who is shown reading the book and variously spilling crumbs and milk and coloring on or accidentally ripping the pages. The book takes mistreatment from the reader—but also from the very active mythological creatures. The dwarves, for example, dig a hole right through their opposing page. Featuring the book itself in the illustrations creates a delightful fun-house effect. The child, pale-skinned and blond, looks to be a first or second grader, and the vocabulary is appropriate for readers of that age. The beautiful, painterly illustrations and wild tessellated backgrounds offer details for both younger lap readers and older independent ones. Molinet’s rhymes scan unevenly, but it’s the illustrations that will draw readers and keep them turning the pages. An afterword describes the concept of tessellations and offers a longer note on each creature. While older readers may wish Molinet were more specific about the cultural origins he cites (rather than saying “specific to one culture”), Molinet’s stated purpose is to give them enough to start their own research.

This gorgeously illustrated, inventive book is sure to entrance young readers.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73335-480-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Notable Kids Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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An exotic menagerie fenced in by design flubs and an anemic plotline.

DON'T LET THE BEASTIES ESCAPE THIS BOOK!

Creatures step out of a bestiary in this tie-in to a manuscript exhibit at the Getty Museum.

The cheery if surreal episode features a young castle worker who swipes an unfinished bestiary and dreams of nonviolent knightly encounters with a lion, unicorn, dragon, and other mighty beasts of yore—somehow failing to notice until the end that his supposed foes have swirled out of the pages to feed the chickens, spread straw, light a fire, and finish the rest of his assigned tasks. Lee places richly hued, friendly looking versions of the creatures into bland castle-yard settings and adds a wizard-ish artist who watches and ultimately draws the animals back into their book. Readers may wonder if there’s a leaf missing partway through, where two very different full-page illustrations collide at the gutter. Further confusion will likely follow as the captions to a set of images from actual bestiaries at the end (following an inconspicuous cautionary note) present fancy as factoid: Lions “are afraid of fire and the sight of a white rooster”; a “dog that crosses a hyena’s shadow will lose its voice.” Even a chimeric bonnacon, which “attacks by expelling a fiery dung that can travel as far as two acres, burning anything it touches,” can’t quite redeem this artless outing. Save for the Asian-presenting wizard/artist, the human cast is white.

An exotic menagerie fenced in by design flubs and an anemic plotline. (appendix) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947440-04-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Getty Publications

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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