With plenty of books about imaginary animals and real pets to choose from, steer away from this one.


Sir Tim is looking for a dragon and won’t take no for an answer.

A little boy with a toy helmet, a shield design on his sweater, a red cape, and a dragon book heads to the neighborhood pet store to find such an animal, even though his mother tells him: “I don’t think they sell dragons at the pet shop, you know.” The friendly shopkeeper tries to persuade Tim that he might like a turtle, saying: “A turtle is green like a dragon.” Tim rejects the turtle as too slow. When offered a rabbit (known for speed), Tim avers: “No, a rabbit isn’t dangerous enough.” He is also disdainful of the mouse offered by the man, who says, “A mouse has sharp teeth, just like a dragon, and it’s fast, too.” Each time Tim uses the refrain: “I want a DRAGON!” Disappointed, Tim and his mother start to walk away until the shopkeeper brings out a puppy, who just happens to be named Dragon (or so the store owner says). After a friendly lick, Tim too quickly gives up his objections and embraces this new pet. Although the loosely sketched and painted illustrations have a pleasant childlike naiveté, the story is both lackluster and hard to believe. All the characters in this Dutch import are white.

With plenty of books about imaginary animals and real pets to choose from, steer away from this one. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-369-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily.


A group of young “dinosauruses” go out into the world on their own.

A fuchsia little Hugasaurus and her Pappysaur (both of whom resemble Triceratops) have never been apart before, but Hugasaurus happily heads off with lunchbox in hand and “wonder in her heart” to make new friends. The story has a first-day-of-school feeling, but Hugasaurus doesn’t end up in a formal school environment; rather, she finds herself on a playground with other little prehistoric creatures, though no teacher or adult seems to be around. At first, the new friends laugh and play. But Hugasaurus’ pals begin to squabble, and play comes to a halt. As she wonders what to do, a fuzzy platypus playmate asks some wise questions (“What…would your Pappy say to do? / What makes YOU feel better?”), and Hugasaurus decides to give everyone a hug—though she remembers to ask permission first. Slowly, good humor is restored and play begins anew with promises to be slow to anger and, in general, to help create a kinder world. Short rhyming verses occasionally use near rhyme but also include fun pairs like ripples and double-triples. Featuring cozy illustrations of brightly colored creatures, the tale sends a strong message about appropriate and inappropriate ways to resolve conflict, the final pages restating the lesson plainly in a refrain that could become a classroom motto. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-82869-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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