A fun story with plenty of little-kid appeal.

THERE'S A DRAGON IN YOUR BOOK

From the Who's in Your Book? series

A freshly-hatched dragon causes pyrotechnic trouble in this equally interactive follow-up to There’s a Monster in Your Book (2017).

A purple egg is about to hatch. “Whatever you do, don’t turn the page…,” you’re warned. But of course you do, and a baby dragon hatches. She’s quite cute, but when you tickle her nose she sneezes, lighting a tiny fire that you’re exhorted to put out. The tiny fire leads to more, and the narrator tells you to “use your imagination to put out the fire,” leading to a water balloon, a flood, a treat for the hungry baby dragon, and a book-flapping goodbye—before the book ends with a gently ominous clutch of more purple eggs. While clearly similar to the earlier title, this storyline is a bit more contrived and less emotional than the original—telling readers to imagine a specific solution seems forced, and the “yummy” ice cream interlude feels like an unnecessary departure from the plot, pandering to children’s appetites. Still, the cute dragon is sure to appeal, and the various points of fourth-wall breakage (blowing on fires, flapping the pages like wings) will make for an energetic and laugh-filled read-aloud, either with a group or one-on-one.

A fun story with plenty of little-kid appeal. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6638-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Clever verse coupled with bold primary-colored images is sure to attract and hone the attention of fun-seeking children...

TOYS GALORE

A fizzy yet revealing romp through the toy world.

Though of standard picture-book size, Stein and illustrator Staake’s latest collaboration (Bugs Galore, 2012, etc.) presents a sweeping compendium of diversions for the young. From fairies and gnomes, race cars and jacks, tin cans and socks, to pots ’n’ pans and a cardboard box, Stein combs the toy kingdom for equally thrilling sources of fun. These light, tightly rhymed quatrains focus nicely on the functions characterizing various objects, such as “Floaty, bubbly, / while-you-wash toys” or “Sharing-secrets- / with-tin-cans toys,” rather than flatly stating their names. Such ambiguity at once offers Staake free artistic rein to depict copious items capable of performing those tasks and provides pre-readers ample freedom to draw from the experiences of their own toy chests as they scan Staake’s vibrant spreads brimming with chunky, digitally rendered objects and children at play. The sense of community and sharing suggested by most of the spreads contributes well to Stein’s ultimate theme, which he frames by asking: “But which toy is / the best toy ever? / The one most fun? / Most cool and clever?” Faced with three concluding pages filled with all sorts of indoor and outside toys to choose from, youngsters may be shocked to learn, on turning to the final spread, that the greatest one of all—“a toy SENSATION!”—proves to be “[y]our very own / imagination.”

Clever verse coupled with bold primary-colored images is sure to attract and hone the attention of fun-seeking children everywhere. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6254-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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