Hicken’s colorful picture book showcases an adorable young dragon who learns that sometimes it’s good to be different.
Sparky, a young blue dragon, can’t wait to grow a long tail, which dragons need to breathe fire. His father, Burnard, tells Sparky that he’s OK the way he is and that whenever his tail grows will be the right time. When it finally does, Sparky’s excited to become a fire-breathing dragon like his dad. Burnard invites the entire village to come watch Sparky’s first attempt, but unfortunately, Sparky spews water instead of flames. The other dragons ridicule and disdain him, and he runs away to the woods to hide in shame. His father eventually convinces him that being different is fine and that his family loves him no matter what happens. Sparky then tries to make friends with the other young dragons, but again, he’s rebuffed for being different. When he retreats to the woods again, he meets a chameleon who has trouble changing colors. They soon become friends, bonding over their uniqueness. Then Sparky’s little sister rushes up and announces that some of the other young dragons accidentally set fire to the village and they need Sparky to put it out. He rushes to the scene, saves the village, becomes a great hero and finally understands that being different can be fantastic. Rushing’s gorgeous watercolor illustrations are full of personality and warmth. The text flows beautifully when read aloud, and the story magically unfolds with the lovely rhythm of its language; the engaging plot and strong characters will likely capture readers’ hearts. Although the book relates a wonderful lesson, Hicken also weaves in moments of subtle humor, such as the spelling of Sparky’s dad’s name and the plucky chameleon’s unintentional colors and patterns. Messages of friendship, self-acceptance and unconditional love enrich this beautiful story.
A charming children’s book that aims to remind children that they’re wonderful exactly as they are.