This emotionally astute tale will strike chords of recognition. (Picture book. 3-5)

THE KNIGHT WHO SAID "NO!"

Little knight Ned might be the most helpful child in the kingdom.

When asked to help, Ned, the village’s only kid, always answers, “YES!” He also obediently scurries inside every night when the dragon comes and the grown-up knights tell people to take shelter. But one evening Ned thinks he hears the dragon sigh as everyone hides. Could the dragon be as lonely as he is? The next day, Ned feels “strange: all mad inside / and hot from top to toe,” and he begins to answer “NO!” Whether it’s a request for milk from his mother or assistance with his weaponry from his father, the answer is the same: “NO!” That night, when the dragon comes, Ned does not obey the knights but stays outside instead to beard the dragon, who is in fact lonely, triggering Ned’s resounding “YES!” to a new friendship. Children will relate to Ned’s many emotions, and his “yes” and “no” responses in this rhyming story are predictable, allowing them to chime in during read-alouds. Wonderfully detailed village scenes with strong primary colors and geometric designs inspire shape recognition. Dominating her scenes, the fiery-red dragon’s posture and often goofy facial expressions soften as she creates a new life with her friend. Ned, his family, and most of the townspeople present white, but the butcher appears to be a man of color.

This emotionally astute tale will strike chords of recognition. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0813-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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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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Out in time for the chilliest season, this offers a solution to winter blues while adding to the growing list of yeti...

THE THING ABOUT YETIS

When the winter gets rough, what is a yeti to do?

Readers follow a nameless yeti accompanied by a stuffed toy yeti in a simple narrative. Yetis love several things about winter: waking up to quiet, snowy mornings, drinking hot chocolate, sliding down hills, building snow castles, frolicking in the snow and pretending to be Godzilla, ice-skating “Yeti style” (belly down). Nevertheless, it isn’t entirely grand for yetis in the winter, for they, too, experience winter blues, when hot-chocolate supplies have been depleted and their cold, wet fur won’t dry. And so they miss the warm summer: playing outdoors for long hours, looking for sea creatures, producing sea-monster beauty contests, building sand castles, and zipping down splashy slides, also yeti-style. They miss the summer nights and listening to the sound of crickets, wishing on shooting stars, and gazing at the hundreds of fireflies. Vogel, in his debut as both author and illustrator, contrasts the white, gray, barren winter spreads with lively green backyards, sunny beach days, and blue summer nights. The yeti’s expressions merit great attention, as do the nod to a yeti-fied version of a Sendak classic and such important scene-setting details as the radiators found in cold-weather homes.

Out in time for the chilliest season, this offers a solution to winter blues while adding to the growing list of yeti protagonists. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4170-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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