A young girl thinks that a dragon will be a better caregiver than her mom and dad.
Liza Jane’s parents tell her that she’s very lucky. She has all the trappings of a happy-enough childhood: a canopy bed, a goldfish, and pizza on Fridays. “Yet: people didn’t listen to her. People interrupted her. People didn’t care about her feelings. And by ‘people’—we mean her parents.” The mixed-race child decides to fire her parental unit, and after putting up signs around the neighborhood (“Wanted: A MOM + A DAD”), she hires a dragon who claims “I can do both jobs.” But the dragon can’t cook, can’t brush Liza Jane’s hair, and “if anything made Liza Jane mad or frustrated, the dragon set it on fire.” The illustrations are subdued watercolors; Liza Jane and the dragon are always rendered in bold colors, set against a retro sepia backdrop, with other splashes of color indicating the focal point of each spread. The text is awkward and clunky, using an overwhelmingly didactic tone for a story lacking any clear or compelling takeaways. “After two weeks, or maybe it was six months, or maybe it was four years,” Liza Jane sends the dragon away and rehires her parents. “She tells them every day how lucky they are.”
Those seeking feminist-tinged picture books should look elsewhere. (Picture book. 5-9)