Reviews for Puff, the Magic Dragon


Booklist Reviews 2007 September #2
This sentimental song, made popular by the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, receives slick but appealing treatment with Puybaret's acrylic-on-linen illustrations. Puff is a slender-necked, benevolent dragon that follows his special friend, Jackie Paper, like an affectionate pup across a smoothly painted fantasy landscape. Those who recall the bittersweetness of Jackie's departure will be happy to know that the book's images continue where the lyrics leave off: the older Jackie leaves for the real world, but his young daughter takes his place as Puff's best buddy. There's a fair amount of nostalgia in the packaging of this story-song, from the notes by authors Yarrow and Lipton to the sweet facial expressions of, well, everyone--even the pirates on ships that lower their flags when Puff roared out his name. Actually, it's hard to imagine Puff roaring at anyone. A CD of Yarrow accompanied by his own daughter features renditions of the title song as well as Froggy Went a-Courting and Jimmy Crack Corn. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2007 July #2
A lovely--and indeed magical--shift and the beloved anthem becomes quite a satisfying read-aloud for children (and adults). Co-author Lipton says he had no idea that there was a Hanalei Bay with a lava cave just the right size for a dragon, but that's where Puff lives in Honalee. And though Jackie Paper grows up too much to stay with Puff, in the final images he brings his daughter to frolic with the dragon. Puybaret's acrylic-on-linen paintings have smooth edges, elongated shapes and rich matte colors as well as Bosch-ian touches: On Honalee there are peopleflies instead of dragonflies; the dolphins sport mortarboards and gondolier T-shirts; the deeply non-ferocious pirate captain has a hook and an eye patch all the same. A CD with four songs, two of them versions of "Puff," makes a very nice package indeed, especially since Yarrow sings with his daughter. (Picture book and CD. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 June #2

This handsome volume offers a charming interpretation of the 1960s folk song, written by Yarrow and Lipton and famously recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary. Featuring a soothing palette highlighted by greens and blues, Puybaret's graceful acrylic on linen paintings are intermittently misty and sunny. Echoing the gentle cadence of the song, the sweeping landscapes and seascapes reveal Honalee to be a magical place indeed, with faces appearing on trees, flowers and rocks. Other whimsical flourishes include the book's affable ancillary characters, including diminutive winged fairies and red-and-white striped dolphin-like critters that wear graduation caps. There is, of course, the inevitable somber moment when "One gray night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more,/ And Puff, that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar"; the dragon gazes wistfully upon the departing boy and then slips sadly into his cave. But at the creative hand of Puybaret, a French illustrator who here makes his American publishing debut, the song's potentially sad denouement takes an uplifting turn. As the chorus is repeated one final time, the delighted Puff spies a girl approaching--ostensibly Jackie's daughter--a new friend to frolic with in the autumn mist. Youngsters concerned about the fate of Puff's first playmate will be comforted to see a smiling, grown-up Jackie looking on. Adding to the appeal of the book is a CD presenting a new recording of the song (and two others), sung by Yarrow and his daughter Bethany, accompanied by cellist Rufus Cappadocia. An impressive performance all around. Ages 3-7. (Aug.)

[Page 58]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2007 August

PreS-Gr 2-- The lyrics from the ubiquitous 1960s song finally finds a hardcover home in a book by its creators. As pictured by Puybaret in his lush, stylized artwork rendered in acrylic on linen, the soulful dragon and Jackie Paper cavort across the island of Honalee meeting kings and pirates, and boating, climbing, and playing. After his young friend grows older and leaves, Puff languishes until a young girl (observed clandestinely and benignly by a grown-up Jackie Paper) joins him to initiate friendship again. The full spreads feature sweeping panoramas set against the blues and greens of ocean and island with small details revealed throughout. Fans of the song will be the book's primary audience. A four-song CD by Yarrow and his daughter with the title song, an instrumental version of it, "The Blue Tail Fly," and "Froggie Went A-Courtin'" is included.--Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha Public Library, WI

[Page 108]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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