Fun enough for a single read-aloud, but mostly fluff.

ROSIE THE DRAGON AND CHARLIE MAKE WAVES

Charlie has chosen an unusual pet, and managing her at the community pool takes a lot of effort.

Charlie, a black child with a high top fade, didn’t have a dragon in mind when adopting a pet, but Rosie, a round-bellied, dark pink dragon, liked Charlie. “And now we’re best friends. We do everything together.” Today, they are going to the pool. Last time “didn’t go that well,” so this time Charlie is prepared. First, Charlie reviews the rules with Rosie. Then Charlie chases after her, keeping her from terrorizing the families with her play. After many pages of damage control, Charlie finally gets Rosie to calm down, give both Charlie and some friends a ride, and eventually swim on her own. Charlie’s pep talk to Rosie before her solo swim can be taken as sound advice for life. But can Charlie keep her from downing the gummy skunks? (And if they give her such terrible breath, why did Charlie bring them along?) The digital illustrations are bright, playful, and attractive, well suited to the story. The dragon’s shenanigans go on far too long, with some abrupt, arbitrary changes in direction, and the humor won’t appeal to everyone. Still there are some young dragon lovers and fans of mischief who will revel in this silly romp.

Fun enough for a single read-aloud, but mostly fluff. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4292-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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