A mouse’s repeated and resolute denial of dragons is sorely tested by one fiery disaster after another.
Stoutly refusing to notice the outsized claws, fanged muzzles, spiked tails, and jagged shadows visible in each illustration, the minuscule narrator marches through a smoky forest, past a house that is converted to flaming wreckage on the next page, and through a town whose residents (of diverse species and skin colors) flee fiery destruction. Eventually the titular claim rings hollow even to the mouse, who then frantically tries to prevent readers from turning the page: “NOOOOOOO!” As if. And, indeed, the following spread is “FULL OF DRAGONS!”: horned, toothy, and gleefully pursuing the hapless narrator. Starting with “crumpled paper and various incendiary devices,” Koehler creates a set of brightly colored dragons set in singed collage scenes and closes with the mouse resentfully erasing the “Not” from a reproduction of the volume’s cover: “I hope you are happy.” Display type with jagged edges that emulate licking flames is a nice touch, as are the faux holes stray embers have burnt through the pages.
Dragon lovers—and all who enjoy being teased by playful disconnects between text and pictures—will be plenty happy indeed. (Picture book. 6-8)