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...

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DAVE AND VIOLET

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.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-84780-052-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

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.

HEY, DUCK!

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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