No matter how many swallowed-fly titles you own, this one belongs on your shelf too.

THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT

In days of yore, before a certain fly’s ultimately fatal encounter with an Old Lady, there was an old dragon who felt rather peckish.

“There was an old dragon who swallowed a knight. / I don’t know why he swallowed the knight // It’s not polite!” He follows the knight with the knight’s steed (“that galloped around at a terrible speed”). Then a squire, a cook, a lady, a castle, and finally a moat are each swallowed in turn. But…“With all of that water, he started to bloat. / And that’s when the dragon roared, and I quote: / ‘Okay, enough! I’ve had enough— / More than enough of this swallowing stuff!’ ” So realizing that eating all those things might have been “a tad impolite,” the old dragon burps them all out in reverse except the knight (which is “ahhh…just right”). Klostermann’s debut is a rollicking and warped Medieval take on the well-worn cumulative rhyme. Prolific British animator and illustrator Mantle’s expressive and bright cartoon illustrations of the red, horned dragon (and the contents of his stomach) are a perfect match. The antics within the dragon’s stomach—every image of the steed is accompanied by a little “clippity, clippity, clippity, clop” in teeny type—and his copious burping will leave ’em laughing.

No matter how many swallowed-fly titles you own, this one belongs on your shelf too. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-39080-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text.

BO'S MAGICAL NEW FRIEND

From the Unicorn Diaries series , Vol. 1

A unicorn learns a friendship lesson in this chapter-book series opener.

Unicorn Bo has friends but longs for a “bestie.” Luckily, a new unicorn pops into existence (literally: Unicorns appear on especially starry nights) and joins Bo at the Sparklegrove School for Unicorns, where they study things like unicorn magic. Each unicorn has a special power; Bo’s is granting wishes. Not knowing what his own might be distresses new unicorn Sunny. When the week’s assignment is to earn a patch by using their unicorn powers to help someone, Bo hopes Sunny will wish to know Bo's power (enabling both unicorns to complete the task, and besides, Bo enjoys Sunny’s company and wants to help him). But when the words come out wrong, Sunny thinks Bo was feigning friendship to get to grant a wish and earn a patch, setting up a fairly sophisticated conflict. Bo makes things up to Sunny, and then—with the unicorns friends again and no longer trying to force their powers—arising circumstances enable them to earn their patches. The cheerful illustrations feature a sherbet palette, using patterns for texture; on busy pages with background colors similar to the characters’ color schemes, this combines with the absence of outlines to make discerning some individual characters a challenge. The format, familiar to readers of Elliott’s Owl Diaries series, uses large print and speech bubbles to keep pages to a manageable amount of text.

A surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-32332-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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Feels like a retread—it may be time to put this series to bed.

YOU DON'T WANT A DRAGON!

If you thought having a unicorn as a pet was hard, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve tried owning a dragon.

The young protagonist of You Don’t Want a Unicorn! (2017) is back, and they clearly haven’t learned their lesson. Now they’ve wished for a pet dragon. As the intrusive narrator is quick to point out, everything about it seems fun at the beginning. However, it’s not long before the doglike dragon starts chasing squirrels, drooling, pooping (ever wondered where charcoal comes from?), scooting its butt across the floor (leaving fire and flames behind), and more. By now, the dragon has grown too huge to keep, so the child (who appears white and also to live alone) wishes it away and settles for a cute little hamster instead. A perfect pet…until it finds a stray magical cupcake. Simple cartoon art and a surfeit of jokes about defecation suggest this book will find an appreciative audience. The dragon/dog equivalences are cute on an initial read, but they may not be strong enough to convince anyone to return. Moreover, a surprising amount of the plot hinges on having read the previous book in this series (it’s the only way readers will know that cupcakes are unicorn poop).

Feels like a retread—it may be time to put this series to bed. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-53580-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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