Slay storytime (if not dragons) with this good knight book.

THE DRAGON AND THE NIBBLESOME KNIGHT

A bit of a mix-up results in an unlikely friendship.

The rhyming text opens the story on a young dragon named Dram who is sent out into the world to capture and eat his first “nibblesome knight.” The big-eyed, small, green dragon doesn’t appear frightening at all and looks downright vulnerable when he crash-lands in a pond after bad weather strikes during his flight to hunt down a knight. A knight who is a blond, white boy named James witnesses the little dragon’s fall, takes off his armor, and wades into the water to rescue Dram. He’s never seen a dragon before and thinks Dram must be a duck of some sort. For his part, Dram doesn’t recognize James as a knight and thinks he’s just “a lad.” Nurturing, empathetic James feeds and cares for Dram until he’s well enough to go off on his own. When the pair meet up again on the castle grounds, James is wearing his armor and wielding a sword, and they recognize each other’s true identities. There’s a brief moment of tension to make readers wonder if they will do battle or not, but the gentle tone of art and text alike propel the story toward its satisfying, happily-ever-after ending. The refrain of “dribblesome, nibblesome, knobble-kneed knights” will have listeners joining in with glee.

Slay storytime (if not dragons) with this good knight book. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-15020-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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