A simple read-aloud picture book about a boy and his dragon.
Hovaguimian (Deep in the Woods, 2011) uses simple, rhyming text in this bedtime read. The book is similar to the classic Goodnight, Moon (it even includes a final illustration that bears a striking resemblance to the window on the cover of that book) but incorporates the interesting addition of a big green dragon as the narrator. The friendly dragon describes his and young Henry’s nighttime practice of flying through the house, out into the world and up into the sky before returning safely to bed. The text is brief, and most pages contain no more than a short sentence. Liotta’s bright watercolor illustrations accompany the text, showing the dragon, Henry and the different sights (a cat, peas, the starry sky) the pair sees on their travels. The illustrations use an appealing free-form style, though the visible pencil sketch lines sometimes create an amateurish effect. Rhymes are sometimes nonsensical: “Over the bed of Fred / Over the sink, / over the ink, / over Dorsey / the horsey.” The nonsense rhymes don’t seem to fit the book, which has a soothing rather than silly tone. While this is a classic bedtime story, it’s worth pointing out that Henry and the dragon’s nightly excursions occur after the pair has gone to sleep, suggesting they’ve gotten out of bed in the night or, more likely, are dreaming about their nightly flights. Children will likely allow the illustrations to fuel their own imaginative dragon dreams.
Parents will enjoy this book’s gentle tone and brevity, while children will like zooming along with this dragon before falling asleep.