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Posted August 5, 2014
Everyone Needs Some Love – A review of the book ‘Griffin the Dragon and How to Tame a Bully’
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself” – George Bernard Shaw
Meet Griffin, a warm and delightful little dragon who goes to school with his best friends Cattails, an 8 year old boy, Jackson, a black striped hyena and Alexandra, a feisty ten year old girl. Griffin loves going on adventures and also playing with his best friends. Author Ken Mask and Illustrator Simmie Williams invite you to explore the world of these friends where they not only play fun games but also learn valuable life lessons. A quick peek into this world will tell you quite a bit about each of the main characters; Griffin the dragon is the quiet one, the mature for his age, cautious one; Cattails is a happy 8 year old boy who displays typical middle child syndrome by alternating between his two best friends; Jackson is a black striped hyena who is the chief trouble maker in charge and also the joker of the pack, and rounding up this small group is Alexandra, a 10 year old girl, who is as famous for her loyalty as she is for her feistiness. This book comes alive with its vibrant colors and easy to read format; it is a wonderful little present for all kids that not only promotes reading but also teaches important life lessons, all the while encouraging kids to learn another language (Spanish) as well.
Ken Mask's latest offering is a wordy picture book geared towards young kids and covers the important issue of bullying faced by kids in school. You would think when you have a dragon and a hyena as friends; life in school would be pretty cool but no! Even then it seems that there are certain social and cultural elements of growing up that can’t be dispensed away with completely. There are a lot of important and relevant issues that are raised within this book. Such as, is it okay to bully or tease people? Why do some people bully? And how do we deal with bullies? Rest assured, these are some serious discussion worthy questions that are being raised in the book, it has been highlighted here that it is not okay to fight with other people, even if you are provoked to do so and that you should in fact try and befriend your bully. But it has also been suggested that sometimes in life, it will come to a point where you will have to stop the bully from getting the best of you, when you have to stand your ground and face the obstacle head on.
This is a lovely book, for the author's authentic and unique style shines through, especially in the conversations and dialogues between the lead characters. Ken Mask tries to tell the world through this book that what we have in our lives is not as important as to what we do with it. Each one of us is born different but we all have our unique and special strengths and how we utilize it makes us who we are truly meant to be. You will also feel this instant connection with all the lead characters; you will come to recognize many children that you know in them. It is also bound to take you back into your own childhood and possibly a similar situation that you yourself may have faced in your life.
Griffin the Dragon and How to Tame a Bully is brilliantly illustrated; the level of detailing is pretty amazing for a children’s book. The 3D effects and the play between light and shadow have been perfected to aid the story telling to the hilt. The colors used too are praiseworthy and all kids are sure to respond to it positively. Simmie’s drawing has a trademark style; and the compositions capture all emotions superbly. Even though Griffin the Dragon and How to Tame a Bully is a children's book, it is one of the most incredible and heart warming books I have read in a long while. It is a must read for every child and parent, hopefully together to enhance the experience further. Ken’s writing and Simmie’s pictures blend so perfectly together, to make this a must buy book for everyone with small children.
When Cattails, Jackson and Alexandra visit Griffin at the end of his 3 weeks of being grounded period, they have a surprise, a big surprise waiting for them at his house. To find out what it is, you’ve to go buy the book!