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KING JACK AND THE DRAGON by Peter Bently

KING JACK AND THE DRAGON

By Peter Bently (Author) , Helen Oxenbury (Illustrator)

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Aug. 18th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3698-6
Publisher: Dial

A trio of children spends the day playing in their fort, defending it from dragons and beasts, before reality intrudes at nightfall.

Gentle, unassuming rhyme tells the story of Zack, Caspar and King Jack, who make a glorious fort in Jack and Caspar's backyard out of a cardboard box and other tried-and-true materials. As she did so memorably in We're Going on a Bear Hunt, Oxenbury alternates black-and-white vignettes of the "real" goings-on with gorgeous, full-bleed single- and double-page spreads of the fantasy action. Her palette and composition of these fantasy scenes (and the lumpy miens of the beasts) recall Max's sojourn among the wild things, but this is no retread of either classic. The children—preschooler Jack, his toddler brother Caspar and pal Zack—are happy playmates consciously indulging in make-believe. Reality and fantasy merge at the end of the day when "a giant came by and went home with Sir Zack" (a parental hand drags the protesting little boy off) and "another giant came and took Caspar to bed" (he is unceremoniously carried off in the crook of Mommy's arm). Does King Jack have the starch to defend the fort by himself? Who needs starch with a Mommy and Dad like Jack's?

Sure to be read aloud again and again, this testament to imaginative play exudes warmth. (Picture book. 3-6)