Goodnight, Dragons

Goodnight, Dragons

4.5 2
by Judith Roth, Pascal Lemaitre
     
 

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Everyone needs a cuddle. Maybe dragons more than most.

When a courageous boy sets out to put dragons to sleep with soft blankets, tasty treats, and soothing words, fire breathers are no match for the daring dragon tamer! Goodnight, Dragons is as warm and comforting as a steaming mug of hot cocoa, and perfect for little hands with its padded cover.See more details below

Overview

Everyone needs a cuddle. Maybe dragons more than most.

When a courageous boy sets out to put dragons to sleep with soft blankets, tasty treats, and soothing words, fire breathers are no match for the daring dragon tamer! Goodnight, Dragons is as warm and comforting as a steaming mug of hot cocoa, and perfect for little hands with its padded cover.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Getting tired, cranky dragons to settle down for the night is not for the fainthearted—especially when they announce themselves with a “smell like burnt toast” that “seeps through the trees.” It takes courage and cunning, but more importantly, it takes tenderness. A small boy lassos each dragon with a soft blanket and beguiles them with a cauldron of hot chocolate (warmed by the now-intrigued dragon’s flame). “Maybe all a dragon needs is a cuddle,” the boy coos. “Maybe all a dragon needs is one sweet dream.” Roth (Julia’s Words) and Lemaitre (Bulldog’s Big Day) seem to have in mind a mock epic, but they’re at odds on how to execute. Roth, though admirably economic, plays it so straight that she often slips into deep purple prose (“With a voice strong as hawksong, I call them to me”). Lemaitre, meanwhile, is working on an entirely different book, a cuddly comedy with critters that look like a few steps beyond doodles and a round-headed hero who’s eager to prove his competence. Ages 3–6. Agent: Jennifer DiChiara Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Pippin Properties. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Jodell Sadler
When one boy believes there are dragons—not dragonflies—in the forest, he ventures out to see. He sleeps under a chestnut tree and dreams. He tames dragons and fine-tunes his dragon tricks as he makes his way into a forest on his horse (dog) and tows a wagon filled with supplies. With flap copy that reads, "Everyone needs a little cuddle. Maybe dragons more than most," it would have been nice to see this appear early on in the story as well. Nonetheless, this book is filled with dragon antics and the power of chocolate to tame the fiery beast. Readers will enjoy the rhythm of the words and repetition in "soft as" and "gentle as" and all the things one little dragon tamer can think up to entertain his dragons. When dragons drop from the sky, blasting flames and crisping trees, the dragon tamer wraps them in blankets. When they stomp through the meadow flattening grasses and scaring things, he settles them in clover. When it is sleepy time, dragon tamer makes hot chocolate, which soothes them into slumber. The illustrations are a perfect marriage to the text. Reviewer: Jodell Sadler
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—So many young children believe in dragons, and the little boy in this the story is no exception. He is convinced that there are such beasts in the forest and that it is his job to tame them. He prepares for battle and enters the forest, not with swords, but with hot chocolate (heated, of course, by their fire). The child tells the story, but the prose is stilted and doesn't sound as if it's coming from a young boy at all. He calls to the dragons "with a voice strong as hawksong." He states confidently, "I am called to tame dragons. My heart tells me so." This dialogue sounds too adult for a boy young enough to ride a dog like a horse. The illustrations, on the other hand, are charming. Lemaitre has a knack for combining the everyday with the fantastic. Grouchy dragons stomp toward the child while he attempts to charm them with a cape tied around his neck and a baseball cap turned backwards as his helmet. He wraps them in soft blankets while small woodland creatures look on. This art adds a sense of whimsy to the stiff text, but it's not enough to make a winning book.—Susan E. Murray, formerly at Glendale Public Library, AZ
Kirkus Reviews
A small boy states that he is "called to tame dragons" and proceeds to do so in a question-begging flight of fancy. He knows there are real dragons because he has dreamed of them, sleeping under a chestnut tree in the forest. He has his tools and traps and tricks; he has a plan. He calls to the dragons, who come belching flame and stomping, but he wraps them in soft blankets, settles them in the clover and takes out his tools (pot and milk and chocolate) and soothes them into sleep. "Everyone needs a cuddle. Maybe dragons more than most," says the boy. As the tale winds down, boy, dragons and many small creatures (duck, frog, rabbit, dog, bat, hedgehog, etc.) sip their hot chocolate and settle in. Although the time of day seems like naptime rather than bedtime earlier, the moon comes up as the boy snuggles under his blanket on the tummy of a dragon. The spare, soft pictures, with their slight lines and rounded shapes, seem to belong to a much less fanciful story; the dragons look a bit like Moomins, round-faced and pastel-colored. One could, perhaps, see the dragons as personified fears or bullies or other childhood terrors, conquered by the brave wielding of chocolate, but one could also see a slightly unfocused and underimagined bedtime story. You make the call. (Picture book. 4-7)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781423141907
Publisher:
Disney-Hyperion
Publication date:
02/14/2012
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

JUDITH L. ROTH was inspired to write Goodnight, Dragons thanks to her youngest son, who thinks dragons are much more interesting than any "real" animals. In addition to writing, she works part-time in school settings interpreting for hearing-impaired students. Born in California, she now lives in Elkhart, Indiana, with her husband and two sons.

PASCAL LEMAITRE is the illustrator of Toni Morrison's bestselling Who's Got Game?: Three Fables, and Alison McGhee's Always, as well as many other books for children. His work has appeared in the New York Times, The New Yorker, and Time. He is Belgian, and eats chocolate every day. He and his family divide their time between Brussels, Belgium, and Brooklyn, New York.

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