Spark

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Overview

Spark is a little dragon with a big problem. He can’t control his fiery breath. Even practicing doesn’t help. Will Spark ever be able to tame his flame?
The first book in an early reader series about baby magic animals, Spark is a gentle reminder that there is a perfect time for everything.

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Overview

Spark is a little dragon with a big problem. He can’t control his fiery breath. Even practicing doesn’t help. Will Spark ever be able to tame his flame?
The first book in an early reader series about baby magic animals, Spark is a gentle reminder that there is a perfect time for everything.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
10/14/2013
Children who are forever being cautioned to "Be careful" will instantly empathize with Spark, the young dragon who stars in this early reader from George (The Melancholic Mermaid), first in the Tiny Tails series. Like all dragons, Spark quickly learns how to breathe fire; keeping that gift under control is more difficult. "Be careful," his father tells him. "Fire burns." And so it does in the three lessons that follow: under parental supervision, Spark tries to use his fire to toast marshmallows and dry dishes, with undesirable results ("The dishes heated up. They glowed and then... crack! crack! Two dishes broke"). Spark's third trial ends just as badly as a "cloud of smoke" fills his bedroom. "Don't worry," says his well-prepared mother. "Your bed is fireproof." George's simple sentences project Spark's determination and his parents' pragmatic brand of support, while Cote offers playfully childlike scenes outlined in loose, crayony strokes. What's the solution for Spark? It's one that's both true to life and the last thing some kids will want to hear: sometimes these things just take time. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
This is a story of perseverance and growing up. Everyone can improve with practice. This is an excellent beginner text for early readers. - Resource Links

“A lovely little book” – Betsy Bird, New York Public Librarian, Fuse #8

Publisher's Weekly:
Children who are forever being cautioned to "Be careful" will instantly empathize with Spark, the young dragon who stars in this early reader from George (The Melancholic Mermaid), first in the Tiny Tails series. Like all dragons, Spark quickly learns how to breathe fire; keeping that gift under control is more difficult. "Be careful," his father tells him. "Fire burns." And so it does in the three lessons that follow: under parental supervision, Spark tries to use his fire to toast marshmallows and dry dishes, with undesirable results ("The dishes heated up. They glowed and then... crack! crack! Two dishes broke"). Spark's third trial ends just as badly as a "cloud of smoke" fills his bedroom. "Don't worry," says his well-prepared mother. "Your bed is fireproof." George's simple sentences project Spark's determination and his parents' pragmatic brand of support, while Cote offers playfully childlike scenes outlined in loose, crayony strokes. What's the solution for Spark? It's one that's both true to life and the last thing some kids will want to hear: sometimes these things just take time. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)

Quill & Quire:
Spark is a lovable little dragon with a big problem: he can’t control his fire. His parents try everything they can think of to help: they teach him lessons from a book, they give him marshmallows to roast (he fries them), they even try getting him to dry the dishes with his flames (that ends badly). None of these ploys work, of course; it’s up to Spark to figure out for himself how to use his ability in a safe, productive way. The story’s construction lends it unique appeal. It is broken up into five chapters that are short enough to suit storytime with toddlers, yet long enough for early readers to feel a sense of accomplishment in reading through them. The harmony between author Kallie George’s beautifully paced, sweetly humorous text and Genevieve Cote’s whimsical illustrations also elevate the simple tale. The handmade quality of Cote’s artwork is particularly appealing. Colours bleed ever so slightly outside the pencil-drawn outlines of Spark, his parents, and his friends (a griffin, a phoenix, a unicorn and a troll). As it relates a story about overcoming challenges, the book exerts a reassuring, calming effect on readers. Any parent weary of potty training a toddler will recognize the parable here, as well as the fact that time and patience are often the only solutions.
            Spark is a lovely story to share with any child who is eager to learn how to use his or her own “flame”.

Booklist:
This first title in the new Tiny Tails early reader series introduces Spark, a slip of a dragon. But despite his small size, he has a problem: he can’t control his fiery flame. In three short chapters, Spark’s parents give him lessons to help him learn to blow gently. They hand him marshmallows to toast, but they’re quickly charred. They give him a stack of plates to dry, but the force of the flame breaks them. They tell him, “Dream about blowing out very gently. Dream about little flames,” but he practically sets his room on fire
(thankfully he has a fireproof bed and pillow). It’s only after time passes that Spark is able to master his flame—and he is awfully proud of his accomplishment (“Yay!”). George’s text is fun and playful, while Côté’s dumpling of a green dragon is eager and expressive. This speaks volumes about the difficulties of being patient, and that’s something every kid will understand.

Kirkus Review:  An aptly named little dragon has trouble controlling his flame—but, as with Leo the Late Bloomer, it’s just a matter of time. Having read a parenting book, Spark’s Mama and Papa try proactive strategies (dubbed “lessons” in the table of contents, though it’s unclear who learns what, if anything): giving him a bag of marshmallows to roast; inviting him to help dry dishes; urging him to dream at night about breathing gentle, little flames. After these all end in smoky minor catastrophes, Papa promises the fretful Spark that in time he’ll be more in control. Indeed, in an amusing twist, he ultimately succeeds in lighting the candles on his own birthday cake without mishap…and then, understandably, refuses to blow them out. In soft, simply drawn cartoon illustrations, Côté places a family of dumpy-looking green dragons with small but decorative orange wings and ears in minimally detailed settings and endows them with human expressions and gestures. “YAY!” Spark yells at the end. “I did it!” Reassurance for newly independent readers with, if not identical, at least corresponding concerns. (Early reader. 5-7)

National Reading Campaign-
Spark is irresistible. ... George’s rhythmic text moves along with just the right amount of repetition to build expectation, and gives the dramatic reader a number of satisfying fire noises to make (CRACKLE! WHOOSH! PIFF!). As the story unfolds, Côté’s endearing illustrations provide a whimsical peek into the world the dragons inhabit—which is quite similar to ours, but funnier. There are smiles on every page for both adults and children, including a familiar scene when his parents resort to a book to tell them how to help Spark with his fiery problem. This gentle, amusing story will have children wanting to read it again and again.
http://www.nationalreadingcampaign.ca/childrens-book-review-spark/

Praise for The Melancholic Mermaid—also by Kallie George:
Publisher's Weekly: Bullying Resources, part of an Anti-Bullying Feature, recommends The Melancholic Mermaid
”Ideally suited for children transitioning from picture books into shorter chapter books. George’s poetic rhythms perfectly capture the lulling melancholy of the seashore.” - Deakin Review
 “The delicately detailed illustrations are filled with the bright and varied colors of the sea.” - Little One Books
 “The Melancholic Mermaid is a unique and beautiful story of rejection, friendship, and young love.” - CM Magazine, 4/4 stars, Highly Recommended
 “This unusually smart and sensitive story doesn’t shy away from revealing the lonely facts of life for misfits.” ForeWord Magazine Reviews
 “Make room next to The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling. The Melancholic Mermaid deserves a spot on every child’s bookshelf.” ?Starred Review, Quill and Quire,
 “George’s narrative is ethereal and formal, with a voiceover quality that invests the artwork with cinematic flow.” - Kirkus
 “The Melancholic Mermaid is a perfect read-aloud for ages 4 and up, or for those who have always wished to meet a mermaid.” - The Faerie Magazine

Praise and Awards for Genevieve Cote:
Marilyn Baillie Award Winner, 2012
General Governor’s Award for Illustration, 2007
Elisabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award 2005
Communication Arts Illustration Annual 38, 40 et 41
Médaille d’argent, Society of Illustrators, 2001
Finaliste aux Prix du Gouverneur Général, illustration jeunesse (2003 et 2000)
Grand Prix d’Illustration Jeunesse GL&V (2000)
Applied Arts Magazine Awards (2000, 1999)
Society of Publication Design (1998)
Advertising & Design Club of Canada (1999, 1997)
Médaille d’argent, Studio Magazine Awards (1996)
Society of Newspaper Design (1994, 1992)
Grand prix du magazine québécois, (1994)
Médaille d’argent, CAPIC Awards (1994)
Médaille d’or, Studio Magazine Awards (1993)

School Library Journal
12/01/2013
K-Gr 2—Beginning readers will enjoy meeting Spark, a young dragon who is setting everything on fire. Just as early learners face developmental milestones, he has trouble learning to control his flame. His parents try different techniques to help their son, teaching him to toast marshmallows, having him help his dad dry the dishes, and even encouraging dream visualization. Unfortunately, none of these attempts works, and it is not until Spark grows into his flame on his birthday that he is able to light the candles on his cake: "Spark closed his eyes. He breathed in. He breathed out very gently…'Yay,' yelled Spark. 'I did it!'" Broken down into simple chapters, this story will grab children mastering new skills and provide a reminder to families that everything has its turn. Adorable drawings in warm hues add a cheerful context to this can-do tale.—Melissa Smith, Royal Oak Public Library, MI
Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-02
An aptly named little dragon has trouble controlling his flame--but, as with Leo the Late Bloomer, it's just a matter of time. Having read a parenting book, Spark's Mama and Papa try proactive strategies (dubbed "lessons" in the table of contents, though it's unclear who learns what, if anything): giving him a bag of marshmallows to roast; inviting him to help dry dishes; urging him to dream at night about breathing gentle, little flames. After these all end in smoky minor catastrophes, Papa promises the fretful Spark that in time he'll be more in control. Indeed, in an amusing twist, he ultimately succeeds in lighting the candles on his own birthday cake without mishap…and then, understandably, refuses to blow them out. In soft, simply drawn cartoon illustrations, Côté places a family of dumpy-looking green dragons with small but decorative orange wings and ears in minimally detailed settings and endows them with human expressions and gestures. "YAY!" Spark yells at the end. "I did it!" Reassurance for newly independent readers with, if not identical, at least corresponding concerns. (Early reader. 5-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781927018248
  • Publisher: Simply Read Books
  • Publication date: 11/30/2013
  • Pages: 44
  • Sales rank: 628,569
  • Lexile: 140L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.41 (w) x 9.29 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Kallie George is an author and editor living in Vancouver, BC. She completed her Masters of Children’s Literature at the University of British Columbia in 2007.  She is the co-creator of a series of acclaimed board books, the Simply Small Series, by Paola Opal, author of the art book Mr. M the Exploring Dreamer with art by Soizick Meister, and the author of the picture book, The Melancholic Mermaid illustrated by Abigail Halpin. Her most recent project, Clover's Luck, Book 1 in the Magical Animal Adoption series, will be published in Summer 2014, by Disney-Hyperion. When she is not writing or editing, she’s teaching creative writing workshops through Capilano University and CWC (Creative Writing for Children). www.kalliegeorge.com

Geneviève Côté has illustrated several books over the years, such as “The Lady of Shalott” by Tennyson, “Wishes” by Jean Little, “Ella May and the Wishing Stone”, by Cary Fagan, “The Little Word Catcher” by Danielle Simard, and many more. She has also written, in both english and french, a few stories of her own: “Mr. King’s Things”, “Without You”, “Me and You”, “What Elephant?” and “With You always, Little Monday”. Her editorial art has appeared in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, l’Actualité and other such publications. She has won the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award in 2005, the General Governor’s Award for Illustration in 2007, and the Marilyn Baillie Award in 2012. She lives in Montreal, Quebec. genevievecoteillustration.com

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