DRAGON IS COMING!

Farm mouse does a Chicken Little. Dog’s lying in the field, idly watching the fluffy clouds. A dark cloud rolls in and Dog comments that it looks like a dragon; when Mouse hears this, he’s off like a rocket, warning the other farm animals of the hideous fire-breather that’s about to attack them. The Goose Brothers, the Sheep Twins, Mrs. Cow and Mrs. Pig all abandon their chores to race to the safety of the barn. With each meeting, Gorbachev’s pen-and-ink–and–watercolor illustrations show the ominous dragon looming in the sky above the animals as they flee, growing in detail from dragon-shaped cloud to terrifying monster. They wait in the barn in fearful silence, until the door squeaks open and ... Dog enters, carrying an umbrella. He explains about the storm, which news passes gently from the animals to Mouse. Despite the abrupt ending, the author’s message registers via the expressive faces of his animals (who wear clothes) and a minimal, accessible text. Heather Tekavec’s Storm Is Coming!, illustrated by Margaret Spengler (2002), does much the same thing, with a bit more flair. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-15-205196-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2009

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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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