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Young dragon lovers not quite ready for the film How to Train Your Dragon will appreciate this gentle, imaginative account of what having a dragon as a pet might be like.
Charming digital art features a bright-red, not-too-scary dragon, who starts out small at "Eddie's Exotic Pets." Exotic he may be, but with understated humor he's shown doing all kinds of regular-pet stuff: going to the vet for a checkup, sticking his head out the car window on the way home (except this pet's head sticks out of the sunroof), chewing on a shoe, going for a walk on a leash (except he flies, rather than walks) and more. The goofy expression on Sparky's face is just like that of an eager, friendly puppy, complete with tongue hanging out, and is especially funny when he's scaring folks unintentionally (sticking his head in the schoolroom window for show-and-tell, for example). The wry tone of the text complements the illustrations' comedy, especially in issuing some cautionary advice: "(But don't give them broccoli. It gives them gas. And you don't want a fire-breathing dragon with gas.)"
Boy and dragon close their day with a bedtime read ("Knight Boy," which looks like a graphic novel featuring a familiar-looking red dragon); this amiable story can help real-life families do the same. (Picture book. 4-7)
Posted April 22, 2012