In this companion to Me and My Dragon (2011), the boy from the first book tries to assuage his red dragon’s fears about Halloween and its attendant creatures. “Poor dragon,” the boy sighs. “I explained to him that mummies, zombies, and werewolves aren’t real.” The boy is sure that the perfect costume is just the cure that’s needed, and the book is largely a canvas for Biedrzycki to show off an array of Halloween costumes that don’t work for one reason or another (often fire-related). The author’s deadpan narration remains a highlight, though the resolution won’t come as a surprise to readers of the first book, which featured a similar Halloween scene. Ages 4–7. (July)
K-Gr 2—A boy explains that he wants a dragon for a pet—a small, red fire-breathing dragon with blue eyes from Eddie's Exotic Pets. He would name him Sparky, construct a cardboard castle for him, and feed him Sizzles 'n' Bits Dragon Chow. A marvelous spread shows the youngster pushing his pet off a cliff to teach him to fly, while another features the flying dragon with collar and leash hovering above the child on one of their daily walks. Sparky could light birthday candles, clear snow from neighbors' driveways, and frighten away bullies. Though he might incinerate kites sharing the spring sky with him, he would be a hit at school on show-and-tell day. The Adobe Photoshop artwork abounds with expressions of surprise and alarm when others see the dragon. A favorite book, Knight Boy, provides inspiration for the narrator's reverie and is the source of not-so-scary bedtime stories, which Sparky reads himself after the boy falls asleep. The monochromatic art on the front endpapers offers a realistic basis for the boy's imaginings, and the back endpapers extend the story. While the brief text is a boon for early readers, this clever, funny book will delight young dragon lovers at storytimes.—Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
Our young narrator doesn't want a pet dog or cat; only a dragon, small and fire breathing. He would treat him like any other pet, reassuring him at the doctor's for a check-up. He'd name him, build him a cardboard home, and give him toys. After teaching him to fly, he'll take him for a walk on a leash. He speculates on adventures with his growing dragon in obedience school and during the year. Of course no bullies will dare to bother him. After reading his dragon a story, one that will not give him nightmares, our narrator and his dragon will go to sleepor at least one of them will. Double pages provide lots of space for most of the imagined adventures along with vignettes to describe them. Adobe Photoshop gives the author/artist the tools to create settings and characters realistic enough to carry the visual narrative as it borders on the comic, particularly the behavior of the anthropomorphic red dragon. Line drawings on the end pages depict more possible humorous activities of the imaginative, uninhibited youngster and the dramatic but lovable winged and pot-bellied dragon. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
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)