DOWN THE DRAGON’S TONGUE by Margaret Mahy

DOWN THE DRAGON’S TONGUE

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 7

KIRKUS REVIEW

Mr. Prospero is a staid businessman who loves the well-ordered world at his office. His suits are always pressed, his tie is always neatly knotted, his hair is always in place, and he always accomplishes his goals in the tidy, well-organized office in which he works. But when Mr. Prospero arrives home where his wife and his twins Harry and Miranda are waiting for him, things are, well, slightly less well-ordered than at work. The children excitedly demand that their dad take them to the playground to play on the beautiful long, red slide shaped like a dragon’s tongue. The children assure Daddy that he won’t get messy and dirty just watching them go down the slide and they convince him to take them. At the playground, Harry and Miranda beg their father to slide down with them. “We need a father sliding with us. And a dog!” Miranda says happily, knowing her father won’t say no to his children. Despite his misgivings and the threat of dirt on his clothes, Mr. Prospero agrees to slide down once. And then slides down once more, and again and again and again. In fact, when Harry and Miranda are tired and want to go home, Mr. Prospero is still climbing the steps to the top of the slide, sliding down, and then starting the process all over. By now, Mr. Prospero has lost his shoes, his shirt has come untucked, his tie is awry, and his hair is mussed. But he’s supremely happy. Children will delight in seeing a buttoned-down daddy loosen up and give in to the pleasure of doing something just because it’s fun. Although this world seems straight out of the 1950s in its homogeneity (all the characters are white and most of the girls and women wear dresses and are well-groomed), the lack of any sort of diversity will be more problematical for adults than for the children who will wholeheartedly love the concept. Warm illustrations rendered in acrylics and painted in a deliberately childlike style ably convey the children’s enthusiasm and their father’s initial ambivalence before he gives in to the exhilaration of sliding down the slide. There is too much empty white background in the design of the book, but this is a minor criticism. An enormously fun and joyous book that works equally well as a group read-aloud or one-on-one. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-531-30272-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2000




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