Tempers will cool once kids meet Fergal.



A young dragon erupts in fits of fiery fury.

Fergal dislikes being told what to do and when to do it; this state of affairs just is “not FAIR.” Whenever things aren’t fair, Fergal responds with a mouthful of FIRE, destroying everything in the flames’ way. Though he’s contrite afterward, he can’t control his blazing temper despite unfortunate consequences that inevitably ensue. When friends reject his destructive ways, Fergal bemoans the unfairness of that situation to Mom, who explains how badly his behavior has hurt others and himself and then shares her own method for calming down when angry. Fergal tries it soon after and it works, and then he discovers that his animal pals employ useful temper-tempering strategies, too. In the end, Fergal learns to use his fire for his friends’ benefit. This cute British import succinctly and not so subtly conveys a message about tantrums that should settle comfortably on the ears and minds of young readers/listeners. The included strategies may prove helpful to children and harried adults struggling to calm angry youngsters during frustrated outbursts. The illustrations, rendered in acrylic, gouache, and digital media, are appealing and expressive; animal characters represent different species and are depicted in various colors, sizes, and shapes.

Tempers will cool once kids meet Fergal. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-19862-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.


From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.


A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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