Baby Dragon

( 1 )

Overview

Amy Ehrlich spins a resonant tale of separation anxiety, pluck, and reassurance, aided by Will Hillenbrand's charming, lush illustrations.

Baby Dragon knows he must wait for his mother by the red fern. He knows she'll be back by morning. So he counts his claws, draws in the sand, takes a nap, and otherwise bides his time, never budging even when friends coax him to run off and play. But as night falls, Baby Dragon starts to worry. What if his mother doesn't come back? Should he ...

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Overview

Amy Ehrlich spins a resonant tale of separation anxiety, pluck, and reassurance, aided by Will Hillenbrand's charming, lush illustrations.

Baby Dragon knows he must wait for his mother by the red fern. He knows she'll be back by morning. So he counts his claws, draws in the sand, takes a nap, and otherwise bides his time, never budging even when friends coax him to run off and play. But as night falls, Baby Dragon starts to worry. What if his mother doesn't come back? Should he climb on sly Crocodile's back and try to find her? Blending just the right amount of excitement and apprehension, this deeply satisfying story confronts a child's common fear, and offers the ultimate comfort.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Hillenbrand's (Counting Crocodiles) expressive artwork shines in this well-structured story about a baby dragon that grows restless while waiting for his mother to return from an overnight trip. More puppy than dragon, more endearing than fearsome, Baby Dragon waits semipatiently for hours ("He drew a picture in the dirt. He counted his claws. He took a nap") but as day turns to night, he accepts a shifty-looking crocodile's offer to take him upriver to find her. Ehrlich's (When I Was Your Age) plot climax is free of fear: when Baby Dragon realizes he's in danger, he bravely jumps to a convenient floating log while the villain doesn't even notice. The author emphasizes instead her protagonist's pint-size determination: he puts "one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other" until he returns to the meeting spot designated by his mother. Hillenbrand uses a variety of media, then tweaks it all digitally to achieve layered, batiklike effects-despite the dense patterning, his compositions are light and harmonious. Winning. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
When his grandmother is not feeling well, Baby Dragon's mother must go to her. His mother tells him to wait for her there, "by the red fern," and she will be back by morning. Baby Dragon waits and waits. When Frog asks him to play, he says he must stay where his mother will find him. He waits again, and tells Weasel the same thing when invited to find ripe bananas. As night falls, however, Baby Dragon becomes sad and lonely, so when Crocodile offers to take him to his mother, he jumps on his back. As Baby Dragon begins to regret his decision, Crocodile tells him that he will be the Crocodile children's dinner, so Baby Dragon bravely jumps off. Lost and frightened, he starts back to the red fern, "one foot after another." What joy at morning when his mother returns! Baby Dragon is a charming youngster with a very expressive face. When Crocodile comes along, Hillenbrand makes him the epitome of villain-hood, all smiles with underlying evil. The ultimate reunion, as mother encircles child, forms a comforting conclusion to this reassuring story for apprehensive readers and listeners. The artist's digital manipulation of ink, colored pencil, finger paint, collage, and gouache produces a variety of textures that blend attractively with no hint of their complex origins. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1

When Baby Dragon's mother must leave him alone overnight, she warms his face, tickles his tail, and tells him she will return in the morning. He must wait by the red fern near the river for her, and he does. He does not play with Frog or go away with Weasel, but he becomes sadder and sadder as he waits. When Crocodile offers to take Baby Dragon to his mother, he climbs on Crocodile's back. The wind sings to him in his mother's voice, and he escapes the reptile's trickery by jumping onto a log. Then step by weary step he follows the riverbank through moonlight and starlight back to the familiar red fern. His mother finds him there in the morning. As he curls up with her and warms her face with his breath, she assures him that she will always come back. Hillenbrand's illustrations, done with ink, colored pencil, finger paint, gouache, and collage, and digitally manipulated, bring to life Baby Dragon's misty tropical forest where water buffaloes wander and storks splash in the river. The crocodile's heavy-lidded, yellow eyes and large jaws contrast sharply with the gentle faces of the dragons. Young children-especially those who have been sad and lonely in their parents' absence-will find comfort in this lovely, reassuring tale.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN

Kirkus Reviews
Mother Dragon instructs her baby to wait for her by the red fern while she visits his grandmother, telling him she'll be back by morning but neglecting to explain why he's being left behind. The friendly-looking dragons nuzzle each other, and off mother goes. Throughout his wait, Baby Dragon entertains himself by drawing, counting, napping and torching a mosquito. Frog and Weasel invite him to play, but Baby Dragon stays put according to mother's instructions. As night falls, the mood and story become darker, reflected in Will Hillenbrand's engaging mixed-media illustrations. When Crocodile glides by and offers Baby Dragon a ride to find his mother he just can't resist. He quickly discovers the threat Crocodile poses and makes a daring escape, returning to the fern. After his harrowing adventure, readers will wonder why he was left on his own in the first place. While the illustrations are appealing and colorful and the repetitive nature of the storytelling engaging in its predictability, this story may well frighten the young children it's aimed at. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763628406
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/12/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,381,560
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.80 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Amy Ehrlich has written more than thirty books for children, including JOYRIDE (a Booklist Best Book of the Decade) and RACHEL: THE STORY OF RACHEL CARSON. She is also the editor of the award-winning anthology WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE. She lives in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

Will Hillenbrand is the illustrator of many children's books, including THIS LITTLE PIGGY, edited by Jane Yolen, and KISS THE COW! by Phyllis Root. He is also the author-illustrator of DOWN BY THE STATION. He lives in Terrace Park, Ohio.

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