A fun, goofy bedtime—or anytime—story.

WHERE IS THE DRAGON?

The king is having dreadful dragon nightmares.

He orders his three knights to go out into the dark night to save his realm—and, more importantly, to save him. The knights with their armor, their huge noses protruding from feathered helmets, some dangerous-looking metal weapons, and a single candle to light their way, are willing, if not eager, to obey. But they are operating under a severe disadvantage. They’ve never seen a dragon, and the king has only given them a few vague ideas about what the creatures might possibly look like. The knights take turns recounting the king’s descriptions and searching the shadowy night. According to the king, dragons have thick, double-sided spikes. But wait; there is a dark shadow out there that looks just like that. With a candle to light the scene, they see a harmless bunch of long-eared rabbits sitting in a pile of carrots. And so it goes. All of Timmers’ shadowy shapes fit the various descriptions suggested by the king, but each one, when lit, is something entirely benign and delightfully silly. But that final shape, dismissed by the knights, just might be the real thing. The text is translated from the original Dutch in a lilting Suessian singsong, with wonderful, surprising rhymes, and little readers and their grown-ups will have a great time combining their voices and giggling through the proceedings. Knights and king all present White.

A fun, goofy bedtime—or anytime—story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-776573-11-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Gecko Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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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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Likely to cause some imaginative prancing among unicorn and kitty lovers.

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ITTY-BITTY KITTY-CORN

Is Kitty only a kitten? Or might she be a noble unicorn?

Inspired by the unicorn on her poster, Kitty crafts a perfect horn and admires herself in the mirror. She feels “unicorn-y.” Her friends disagree. “ ‘You’re not a unicorn, putty-pie,’ says Parakeet. / ‘You’re curled up like a cat, fluffy-fry,’ says Gecko.” So Kitty uncurls to prance and gallop, but her detractors point out her tiny tail. With some effort she plumps it up. They tell her she will never be a unicorn because she meows like a cat; this, of course, prompts her to let out a loud “NEIGH!” Parakeet and Gecko are having none of it, each time varying their mild name-calling. As the sun dips low, Kitty’s sure her long shadow looks like a unicorn’s—until a real unicorn clops into view. Gecko and Parakeet are impressed, and Kitty feels insignificant. But this unicorn has a secret…a pair of fluffy, pink kitty ears the same pink as Kitty’s. They can be kitty-corns together, best friends. Unicorn fans will definitely identify with Hale’s protagonist and respond well to Pham’s bright cartoons, laid out as spot illustrations that pop against the mostly all-white backgrounds. The way Kitty’s friends dismissively poke fun with their name-calling may give some readers pause, but the be-true-to-the-inner-you message and the expressive characterizations add appeal. (This book was reviewed digitally with 12-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 51.2% of actual size.)

Likely to cause some imaginative prancing among unicorn and kitty lovers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5091-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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