An aptly named little dragon has trouble controlling his flame—but, as with Leo the Late Bloomer, it’s just a matter of time.
Having read a parenting book, Spark’s Mama and Papa try proactive strategies (dubbed “lessons” in the table of contents, though it’s unclear who learns what, if anything): giving him a bag of marshmallows to roast; inviting him to help dry dishes; urging him to dream at night about breathing gentle, little flames. After these all end in smoky minor catastrophes, Papa promises the fretful Spark that in time he’ll be more in control. Indeed, in an amusing twist, he ultimately succeeds in lighting the candles on his own birthday cake without mishap…and then, understandably, refuses to blow them out. In soft, simply drawn cartoon illustrations, Côté places a family of dumpy-looking green dragons with small but decorative orange wings and ears in minimally detailed settings and endows them with human expressions and gestures.
“YAY!” Spark yells at the end. “I did it!” Reassurance for newly independent readers with, if not identical, at least corresponding concerns. (Early reader. 5-7)