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Lovabye Dragon

Overview

In her bed in her room in her castle, a girl longs for a dragon.
In his nest in his cave in his mountain, a dragon dreams of a girl.

When a lonely dragon follows a trail of princess tears, a beautiful friendship is born. They march and sing, roar and whisper, hide and seek, then settle into snug companionship at bedtime. Barbara Joosse’s fiercely protective and gently loving dragon cavorts across the pages, endearingly illustrated by Randy ...

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Overview

In her bed in her room in her castle, a girl longs for a dragon.
In his nest in his cave in his mountain, a dragon dreams of a girl.

When a lonely dragon follows a trail of princess tears, a beautiful friendship is born. They march and sing, roar and whisper, hide and seek, then settle into snug companionship at bedtime. Barbara Joosse’s fiercely protective and gently loving dragon cavorts across the pages, endearingly illustrated by Randy Cecil. At the end of the day, who can resist curling up in the embrace of a lovabye dragon?

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times
Loneliness in the night is…the subject of the dreamy Lovabye Dragon, one of a welcome wave of books that let girls play with beasts that once kept company solely with boys. But why shouldn't girls appreciate fire-breathing dragons too, especially if they allow themselves to be ridden into the night sky? What's not to like?
—Pamela Paul
Publishers Weekly
Is Joosse (Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats) paying homage to a classic mid- century children’s author, or just channeling her? Either way, this beautifully bubbly poem sounds a lot like Margaret Wise Brown at her best. “Once there was a girl,” it starts, “an all-alone girl/ in her own little bed/ in her own little room/ in her own little castle/ who didn’t have a dragon for a friend.” The princess doesn’t fear dragons; she’s pining for one, weeping decorous tears that flow “past a boat in the moat/ past a frog in the bog” and finally to the dragon, who shows up at her door like a faithful dog, ready to adore her. There are moments of saucy wordplay (“On the outside, Girl is little./ On the outside, Dragon’s biggle”) and reassuring images of steadfast love (“and he wraps his tail around her/ so gently, all around her”). Cecil’s (Horsefly and Honeybee) stylized, angular figures stand in visual contrast to Joosse’s rounded prose-poetry, but the palette of muted grays and blues is just right for this lullaby of a book. Ages 3–6. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
[An] ever-so-sweet picture book... Joosse’s poetic, lyrical text is chock full of beautifully cadenced rhyme and repetition, including wonderfully inventive rhymes. . . Cecil’s softly textured illustrations have charm in spades, and the bug-eyed dragon himself takes the term loveable to a new dimension. Children will likely ask for this one over and over at bedtime, and may fall asleep wishing they, too, could be snuggled in the curl of a dragon’s tail.
—Booklist (starred review)

Is Joosse paying homage to a classic mid-century children’s author, or just channeling her? Either way, this beautifully bubbly poem sounds a lot like Margaret Wise Brown at her best. . . There are moments of saucy wordplay and reassuring images of steadfast love. Cecil’s stylized, angular figures stand in visual contrast to Joosse’s rounded prose-poetry, but the palette of muted grays and blues is just right for this lullaby of a book.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
"Once there was a girl, an all-alone girl...who didn't have a dragon for a friend." "And there was a dragon, an all-alone dragon...who dreamed of a girl for a friend." The lonely girl cries tears that flow all the way to the dragon in his cave, waking him up. He follows the trail of tears back to the girl. With "a rumble and a tumble," the dragon arrives, to the girl's delight. They happily march around and sing all day. "On the outside, Girl is little./ On the outside, Dragon's biggle. But they're just the same size/ exactly the same size/ in the middle." It's a happy ending for the unlikely "Forever friends." Oil paints primarily in muted tones of blue create stylized fairytale characters, the castle, a dragon's cave, a bog with a frog, a glen with three sheep, and other bits of landscape—the proper environment for the happy magic to occur. Some scenes are double page; others suggest views through binoculars as we follow the stream of silver tears. The brief poetic lines of text, sometimes in elaborate frames, fun to read aloud, are in perfect harmony with the illustrations. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Once there was Girl, perhaps a princess, who longed to have a dragon for a friend. "Oh, she cried silver tears/many, many tears/so wishing for a dragon/so lonely for a dragon," and those tears trickle out of the castle to a distant mountain where Dragon wakes from his dreams. He follows the silvery trail back to the girl waiting in her lonely room, and they go to a shell-strewn beach where Dragon makes a fire. He wraps his tail protectively around her and Girl sings to him. On a very fine final spread, Girl rides on Dragon's back through the drifting clouds of a starry night. The fairy-tale setting, lilting repetitive verses, and whimsical characters are wonderfully done. Oil paintings, using a blue, gray, and gold palette, suggest that a toy dragon and three shiny soldiers with swords drawn have come to life, giving an added dimension to the text. This satisfying tale of two forever friends is both a comforting bedtime story and affirmation that sometimes dreams do come true.—Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Kirkus Reviews
When the tears of a young princess trickle onto a dragon, a sweet friendship is born. With lovely lilting words, Joosse creates a friendship born out of loneliness and tears between a young princess who longs for a dragon and a friendly dragon who dreams of a girl for a friend. The beginning half of the story builds up to their first meeting, as the girl weeps a stream of tears and the dragon follows it across the landscape to her room in the castle. "I am here!" roars Dragon. "You're a dear!" whispers Girl. The dragon is big, the princess is little. Though great, their differences on the outside are no match for the bond of friendship that helps keep the monsters away. The remainder of the book is a love fest of happiness and togetherness, as the two friends find each other and find out about each other. Strong musicality in the text makes for a sing-along feel, almost like a nursery rhyme. "Snore-asleep was the dragon / dream-asleep was the dragon / but the trickle of tears / little tickle of tears / woke him up. / Gluk!" The oil-painting illustrations are muted and hazy, giving the tale a dreamlike quality full of nighttime blues, browns and purples. With on-the-dark-side skin and stylized pigtails, the princess has enough ethnic ambiguity for refreshingly inclusive appeal. A strong and hopeful tale. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763654085
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/11/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 300,173
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Joosse has written many books for children. Among them are Mama, Do You Love Me?, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee; and I Love You the Purplest, illustrated by Mary Whyte. She says, "When I was a little girl, I wished for two things — a best friend, and something so ferocious it would scare away the monsters under my bed. And so I have written Lovabye Dragon. I think maybe it’s for little me." Barbara Josse lives in Wisconsin.

Randy Cecil has illustrated more than twenty books for children, including Brontorina by James Howe, And Here’s to You! by David Elliott, and My Father, the Dog and How Do You Wokka-Wokka?, both by Elizabeth Bluemle. He is also the author-illustrator of Duck and Gator. Randy Cecil lives in Houston.

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