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)Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
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)[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC
It's a truism of children's literature that when dragons aren't serving as worthy adversaries of pretend play, they're the ultimate fantasy pets. Biedrzycki's young narrator, like those who have gone before him, imagines a host of improbably comic situations that owning a potbellied, google-eyed red dragon could ignite: teaching the hesitant creature to fly for the first time, employing tough love and a handy cliff; startling his peers, teacher, and classroom hamsters with an dramatic entrance into show-and-tell; and showing off with a gravity-defying stroll. Using deadpan, catalogue-like text to set up the jokes ("We could clear neighbors' driveways in the winter" is a typical passage), Biedrzycki (the Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective series) creates page after page of scenarios with the kind of bright colors, dimensionality, and freewheeling goofiness that will remind readers of their favorite CGI cartoons. The jokes aren't particularly fresh ("Nice costume!" says a clueless homeowner to the dragon at Halloween), but that's beside the point: Biedrzycki is after the same kind of giggly pleasure that makes one feel like dancing at the sound of an oldie but goodie. Ages 4-7. (July)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
PreS-Gr 2--In Me and My Dragon (Charlesbridge, 2011), a boy discusses the ins and outs of having a dragon for a pet. In this follow-up story, the boy and his dragon are having a great time. The two have everything in common-except a love for Halloween. While the boy is excited to trick-or-treat, the fire-breathing beast is petrified of the werewolves, zombies, and mummies they will encounter. After a comical montage of dressing the dragon in a series of costumes that simply will not work, the boy gets a great idea: he can be a knight and the dragon can trick-or-treat as himself. And because no one will know he is a real dragon, he can even pick out his own candy. The charm of this book is in the details. While the text is straightforward, the facial expressions and information delivered by the rich and bold Adobe Photoshop images demand a second and third reading.--Jennifer Miskec, Longwood University, Farmville, VA[Page 66]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
K-Gr 2--The charmingly goofy-looking red dragon readers were introduced to in Me and My Dragon (Charlesbridge, 2011) is ready to make new friends via this well-translated Spanish language edition. What is most endearing is that many of the little signs and asides, such as the writing on the shop windows, blackboard, and bag of dragon food, have also been translated. Such an eye to detail on the artwork itself is a welcome pleasure. The story is cute and the illustrations cuter. How does a determined boy take care of a dragon? ¡Con mucho cuidado y alegría!/With lots of care and happiness!--Mary Margaret Mercado, Pima County Public Library, Tucson, AZ[Page 99]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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[Page 60]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.