THERE’S A DRAGON DOWNSTAIRS

McKay and Harvey offer a resolution both comforting and logical to the perennial issue of noises in the night. Every night, Sophie hears a dragon “Rattling through the cat flap. Slinking to the living room. Growing and growing in the dark.” But by the time she stumbles down, dressed in cardboard armor, carrying a “pump-action supersonic water squirter,” or dressed in her princess outfit, the room is empty. Using scribbly pencil strokes to create shadows in rooms decorated with a large and scattered collection of plush dinosaurs, Harvey depicts Sophie as a small figure in which anxiety and resolution are clearly mixed; when at last the child sneaks down quietly in her pj’s, she discovers that there really is a “dragon”—of the feline variety. This import’s repeating structure and cozy close make it a natural for reading aloud, at bedtime or any other. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-689-86774-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2005

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Encouragement for moguls-to-be and fun for everyone else.

IT BEGAN WITH LEMONADE

A young entrepreneur is ready to sell homemade lemonade, but everyone else has already staked out the best spots.

The nameless narrator rolls a colorful stand through the diverse city neighborhood and just keeps on going until reaching the countryside. Pushing it up a hill, the kid loses control, and the tall stand with the lemon on top goes careening through the woods until it finally stops near a river. Unexpectedly, a customer arrives! The kid serves up, and then a steady stream of customers float by: an octopus, two alligators, a sea monster, a diver in an old-fashioned helmet, and more. The kid needs to make more lemonade on the spot. After selling out and trudging home, the kid sleeps through the night dreaming about a future riverside lemonade empire. Careful readers will spot many reminders of the adventure in the kid’s bedroom. A toy octopus’s tentacles overflow from a chest, a diver’s helmet sits on the floor, pictures of sea animals and boats adorn the walls. The lines between reality and fantasy blur…but the tip jar is full. Bright cartoon illustrations are full of funny details (the lemonade-stand sign smiles and frowns expressively), and the alliterative text begs to be read aloud: “I sat for a long while, feeling terrible as a turnip,” the kid grumps at one point. The narrator has textured black hair and a ruddy complexion. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Encouragement for moguls-to-be and fun for everyone else. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 25, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2828-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Well-crafted bedtime reading featuring an unusually captivating monster.

DRAGON NIGHT

A boy and a dragon bond over a shared fear—sort of.

Actually, “Georgie is afraid of the night,” and the dragon that crawls out of his copy of St. George and the Dragon is (with some justice!) “afraid of the knight.” The mutual anxiety is close enough, though, to send both winging out through Georgie’s bedroom window in search of safety. The two come at last to rest on a dark hillside, where the dragon points out stars, shooting stars, and the soothing sounds of crickets to the boy in its lap—and next day, back in the bedroom, Georgie returns the favor, concocting a safe haven for the dragon by creating a new story book with a friendlier knight. Cozy interchanges between the two (“ ‘Will the knight want to fight?’ asks the dragon. ‘Instead of fighting, the knight loves to play catch,’ replies Georgie. ‘What if the knight doesn’t like me?’ asks the dragon. ‘Don’t worry,’ says Georgie. ‘I’ll help you’ ”) give the narrative an intimate tone that Krause reinforces with shadowy pictures, done in thick lines and dark hues, pairing a tiny boy who presents Asian and an improbably huge but vulnerable-looking, even at times tearful, dragon.

Well-crafted bedtime reading featuring an unusually captivating monster. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51424-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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