You've Got Dragons

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Dragons show up when you least expect them," counsels young Ben, narrator of this picture book cum how-to guide for dealing with childhood anxieties. Ben is already practiced at dealing with "dragons" that sometimes stomp their way into his consciousness. These days the beast that rattles him most is the math-test dragon. Ben's dad confides he's seen his share of dragons, too. But Ben gladly shares tips with Dad-and readers-about accepting dragons for what they are and finding ways to ride out dragon visits. Cave (The Boy Who Became an Eagle, also illus. by Maland) delivers her bibliotherapy with dollops of gentle humor. Her points are often sensible and encouraging ("Really get to know your dragon." "Talk with someone else about your dragon"). However, the very premise-"You turn around... and there they are.... Your heart thuds and your knees wobble and your hands shake.... You can't believe it's really happening to you. But it is"-may prove disquieting to some youngsters, while older readers may find the approach condescending. Energetic ink cross-hatching brings texture and depth to Maland's soft-hued watercolor scenes, which demonstrate a wide array of perspectives and dashes of silliness. The large and scaly yellow-toothed dragons sometimes mutate into gray shadowy shapes, befitting their amorphous nature. Ages 6-10. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
We all have worries in our lives. There are those little ones like "did I turn off the computer last night?" Then there are the ones that seem to be huge. They may, in fact, be tiny, but to you and me they are huge; they are our dragons. They are those wretched dragons that "show up when you least expect them," that make your "knees wobble and your hands shake" and "you can't believe it's really happening to you." That is the kind of dragon this book is talking about; we all have them and are afraid of them. Most of us are afraid to talk about them, too. The author, with her colloquial text, and the illustrator, with his quirky yet warm illustrations, show us what to expect and how to handle the situation. One thing we can do is to face our dragon and give it our "full attention at least once a day." Best of all, perhaps, is the reassurance that we are not alone in our fears and that our dragons will one day disappear for good. It is hard to imagine how the author managed to make such a difficult subject so accessible, but she has done so with great skill and sensitivity. This book is a must for anyone who has a dragon in his or her life. 2003, Peachtree Publishers,
— Marya Jansen-Gruber
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-This picture book presents a muddled blend of humor and instructional advice. A young boy suddenly discovers that he is surrounded by dragons. He can't ignore them and he can't escape them: "Dragons are scary. You try to pretend yours isn't there. But it IS." As the child grows used to his unwanted companions, he writes an advice column about them and offers tips to others, such as "Talk with someone else about your dragon." Finally, he discovers that "dragons don't stay forever." The illustrations depict the omnipresent creatures as slightly scary, but not too threatening. The narrative includes humorous moments, but it will be hard for most children to really get what's going on. A list of "Ancient Dragon Wisdom" at the end indicates that the "dragons" the boy describes actually represent something else, perhaps fears or change or insecurity. There are no hints early on that the dragons aren't literally part of his world. Often they appear along with stressful childhood experiences, such as turning off the light or moving to a new home. Other times, though, he associates them with playing games or eating lunch, and it seems like it's all in fun. The metaphor could be used effectively by adults sharing the book with children, but it will be lost on most young readers.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Toothy but disarmingly tubby dragons stand in for childhood worries in this light-toned bit of therapy. "Your heart thuds and your knees wobble and your hands shake and your head whirls . . . you can't believe it's really happening to you. But it is. It really is. You've got dragons." What does that mean? Aside from a reference to math-test anxiety, Cave declines to provide examples. She does offer some comfort-you don't get them because you've been bad; everyone else has them too-and suggests that the best way to deal with them is to confront them, and to try to see them in perspective. Maland depicts huge but non-menacing monsters with Wild Thing smiles, who follow a carrot-topped lad as he searches for coping strategies, then vanish, at least temporarily, at the end. Reassuring? Yes, though the idea that children are capable of dealing with their problems alone begs "dragons" caused by circumstances outside a child's control. Paradoxically, young readers will likely derive more benefit from this if an adult is on hand to share, interpret, and discuss. (Picture book. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561452842
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 9/28/2003
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 121,984
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.10 (w) x 9.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 12, 2010


    I loved this book because it makes fears and worries into something tangible and concrete for kids to understand. It can help them to identify feelings associated with fears and worries but it also identifies strategies to help them deal with the fears and worries. And in the end, it reassures them that before they know it the dragons are gone. I can't give it enough stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2014

    Highly recommend

    Perfect book for kids - it helps them tackle their fears.

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  • Posted March 29, 2012

    Excellent book!!

    I initially got this book for my therapy practice and it has been excellent as a way to address any big, scary problems in children's lives. When my 7 year old daughter saw it, she was immediately drawn to read it! A must have!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2010

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