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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A rocky start to an underwhelming graphic fantasy series.

THE LAND OF THE TROLLS

From the Felix and Calcite series , Vol. 1

Trolls and good storytelling get short shrift in an unoriginal new early-reader graphic series.

A young White redheaded boy named Felix awakes one night to discover a purple troll in his bedroom, but he seems completely unfazed. Having arrived through a toy-box portal, the troll leads Felix back to her realm. The lay of the land is explained with a map and narration by the Ancient Master Troll, who also drops knowledge about giants, ogres, and sea sirens. A witless cave song follows: “We're trolls! We're trolls! Trollls!” [sic]. The purple troll, who goes unnamed until the book’s last pages (spoiler alert: Her name is on the book’s cover), is giving Felix a tour when they are attacked by tiny, adorable gnomes, the trolls’ age-old enemies. The gnomes steal the show—not ideal for a book titled The Land of the Trolls. The association of trolls with boogers feels derivative of Harry Potter. The book’s clever illustrations—graphic novel–style panels are supplemented with mazes, seek-and-finds, and a tunnel that requires readers to turn the book sideways—don’t make up for the realization that this book is the setup for a franchise in which worldbuilding takes precedence over narrative and characterization. Indeed, we learn almost nothing about the stars of the story; they are as uninspired and generic as a song about trolls that consists of only two words repeated. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A rocky start to an underwhelming graphic fantasy series. (Graphic early reader. 7-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72844-866-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Graphic Universe

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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