Simple, direct text and the extra-large dragon squeezing into tiny clothes—plus the underwear endpapers—make for fine fun.

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HOW TO DRESS A DRAGON

A little boy carefully explains each step of dressing a dragon.

With an intimate, second-person narration, a tiny tot with tea-colored skin, a mop of brown hair, and wide, expressive eyes imparts his expertise in getting a dragon ready in the morning. As a sensible first step: “you must be prepared to catch him as he flies by.” Next, to the infinite delight of all storytime crowds everywhere, it is time to put on underwear. Barclay offers up a wide array of prints: polka dot, striped, plaid, cloud-speckled, and the dragon’s favorite—“froggy superhero ones.” Dragons also have a few persnickety rules when dressing. Shorts are easier than pants, they only wear hats that fit between their horns, and under no circumstances will a dragon ever wear a shirt. Because, never forget, “DRAGONS…DO…NOT…LIKE…SHIRTS!” This playful romp through a familiar morning routine includes fierce, determined scowls at some fashion options and gleeful clapping (for froggy boots) at others. The ending falls a little flat, but the desired silliness carries it through.

Simple, direct text and the extra-large dragon squeezing into tiny clothes—plus the underwear endpapers—make for fine fun. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-67846-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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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

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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Interactive features carry this unicorn board book for toddlers.

MY MAGICAL UNICORN

From the My Magical Friends series

Unicorns, rainbows, and interactive features come together in this durable board book.

A perky unicorn graces the cover, and the wheel integrated in the cover page can be used to rotate the sparkly, colorful lines on her rainbow mane, tail, and hooves for a pleasant striped effect. “A unicorn skipped out one day, / spreading magic on her way.” The rainbow unicorn wanders through her enchanted land, chasing away the clouds, stopping rain, and fixing torn fairy wings. Text is sparse, just one sentence-cum-couplet on each of the four double-page spreads, offering little substance for toddlers and not fully connecting with the illustrations. Cartoony illustrations are colorful yet simplistic, reminiscent of animated children’s television programming. Wafting clouds of stars represent unicorn magic, with birds, flowers, pale-skinned fairies, butterflies, and other insects scattered throughout. The final double-page spread shows a herd of unicorns of different colors frolicking together. Beyond the wheel on the cover, other interactive mechanisms include smooth pull-out tabs and sturdy sliders, which toddlers may easily enjoy while developing motor skills. The turn-push-pull-slide features of this book are developmentally perfect for the age, and they are the true adventure in this sturdy book. It’s a shame the text and illustrations fail to deliver in terms of edutainment and pale in comparison to the interactive features.

Interactive features carry this unicorn board book for toddlers. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3729-9

Page Count: 8

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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