Enzo the dragon has a most disastrous cold.
“When cinders come showering down from the skies… // And thunder is rumbling, / and smoke burns your eyes… / Then run like a rabbit! Fly like the breeze— // Enzo the dragon is starting to sneeze.” Enzo’s mother tells him to cover his sneeze, but he does not. It is so explosive it launches him into the air, and the wingless dragon flies over fields and pastures toward town. The peasants, a diverse bunch, flee their thatched homes. A dark-skinned royal magician appears on the scene at the behest of the king and the queen and sensibly prescribes fluids and rest. Like many a cold-sufferer before him, Enzo resists: he wants to be made well instantly and doesn’t need a nap. Along come the knights, but even they can’t get close to Enzo. The magician makes a vat of “abraca-brew,” which Enzo drinks before falling asleep. Once he wakes, he’s better. The text closes by counseling readers to “be a good dragon” and cover their sneezes. Cyrus’ double-page spreads are bright and full of sneeze-driven energy, and green-scaled, knobby-crested Enzo is appealing. The rhyming text amusingly reproduces Enzo’s stuffy-nosed entreaties for help among other onomatopoeia, but the story is the weak link. Literal-minded youngsters will wonder what’s going on when both the wizard and Enzo seem to capitulate to each other, the former by brewing the brew and the latter by drinking it and then napping. Is it a trick? A sleeping potion? Or just inconsistent?
Great splatters of draconic mucus aren’t enough to make this story soar. (Picture book. 3-7)