Violet's best friend Dave has a hard time fitting in.
Not only is he a dragon, Dave is also shy. Violet, a little girl, takes him to the park to meet her friends, who have never seen a dragon before. They approach him amiably, but Dave gets very nervous. He turns bright orange, and a huge flame gushes from his mouth. "WHOOSH!" Dave tries to apologize, but everybody has been scared away except Violet. To cheer him up, she invites Dave to come and play with her school band at their concert that evening. Dave brings his trumpet, but gets so nervous when the audience quiets down to listen that the same thing happens. Fire whooshes out of Dave's trumpet. Violet's next suggestion is a job for Dave at school, as a lunch lady. He burns all the food to a crisp. Dave hides in his cellar for days, until Violet coaxes him outside for a stroll. It's a dark and rainy night, and all the townspeople seem gloomy. The people gathered in the town square make Dave nervous, but this time he shoots fireworks into the sky, triggers a spontaneous party and becomes a local hero. Adams' illustrations, like her story, are simple and direct; the lino prints have bold outlines and bright colors, and eggplant-shaped, mop-topped Dave has a goofy appeal.A fitting fable for the very young about friendship and diversity. (Picture book. 3-6)