This doe-eyed dragon may help children look to others who are different with compassion instead of fear, whether it be on...

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THE PEACE DRAGON

From the Peace Dragon series

A cautionary tale about the dangers of prejudging others.

Sherwyn, a little boy with a pair of binoculars strung around his neck, is an explorer. One day, while on an expedition, he finds a curious sparkly item. He gives it a tug and realizes it is a tail attached to a dragon! Understandably, Sherwyn gives a horrified shout. But the dragon is smiling. This makes Sherwyn pause and begin a conversation. When Sherwyn points out the dragon’s scary, pointy scales, the dragon expounds on the importance of seeing the whole picture; she sheds a scale, and Sherwyn sees that it is actually a heart. The dragon is a peace dragon. To further illustrate the point, when Sherwyn brings the dragon back to his village, the townsfolk immediately think the dragon is dangerous and threaten to attack. The shadow from the angry mob forms the shape of a dragon on the ground. Seeing this, they realize they are the only scary dragon around. The fairly lengthy text is set in a thin, small sans-serif type and expressed in a chatty, conversational tone, with authorial asides (“In some stories, getting close to a dragon can be a very bad decision. This isn't that kind of story"). It makes no effort to conceal its teaching purpose, but there’s no question the advice it offers is sound.

This doe-eyed dragon may help children look to others who are different with compassion instead of fear, whether it be on the playground or in the world. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4867-1466-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love.

THE LOVE LETTER

A mysterious love letter brightens the lives of three forest animals.

Appealing mixed-media illustrations made of ink, gouache, brush marker, and colored pencil combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. When Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel stumble in turn upon a formally composed love letter, each finds their life improved: Squirrel is less anxious, Bunny spreads goodwill through helpfulness, and Hedgehog is unusually cheerful. As the friends converge to try to discover who sent the letter, the real author appears in a (rather) convenient turn: a mouse who wrote an ode to the moon. Though disappointed that the letter was never meant for them, the friends reflect that the letter still made the world a happier place, making it a “wonderful mix-up.” Since there’s a lot of plot to follow, the book will best serve more-observant readers who are able to piece the narrative cleanly, but those older readers may also better appreciate the special little touches, such as the letter’s enticing, old-fashioned typewriter-style look, vignettes that capture small moments, or the subdued color palette that lends an elegant air. Drawn with minimalist, scribbly lines, the creatures achieve an invigorating balance between charming and spontaneous, with smudged lines that hint at layers of fur and simple, dotted facial expressions.

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-274157-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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