PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON POP-UP BOOK

The magic dragon rides again, this time incarnated in a pop-up.

In 2007, this artist and publisher did quite a nice picture book of the lyrics to the song written by Yarrow (of Peter, Paul & Mary) and Lipton. This is pretty much the same version, gussied up a little with pop-ups. Mostly, they take Puybaret’s gentle, smooth-edged, muted greens, browns, and blues and layer them three-dimensionally. Dolphins with mortarboards and gondolier shirts frolic, as do the peopleflies instead of dragonflies. In the end, it is a little girl (perhaps Jackie’s daughter, as he isn’t present) who comes to Honalee to awaken Puff once again to frolic in the autumn mist. A CD with four tunes is included, two of them versions of “Puff” but neither of those the original: One is a much-less-spirited version with Yarrow and his daughter Bethany singing; one is an instrumental. The other two numbers, also on the less-energetic side, are “Froggie Went A-Courtin’ ” and “The Blue Tail Fly.” The latter, although sung by generations of children, does have historical lyrics with ambiguous meanings related to slavery, and one wonders about its inclusion here. While this pop-up version adds little to Puff’s enduring charm, at least it does not distract. (Pop-up/picture book. 3-6)

 

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4027-8711-9

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2012

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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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Fans of the series will delight in seeing these favorites again, and Girl and Dragon should win some new ones.

SAIL AWAY DRAGON

A young girl and a dragon take their sweet friendship on an adventure.

After sharing the beginning and deepening of their friendship in Lovabye Dragon (2012) and Evermore Dragon (2015), Joosse puts this twosome on a journey to the high seas. Girl, forever sleeping in her same bed, dreams of sailing away. Dragon, snug in his lair, dreams of sailing with Girl. “Sometimes when friends share a heart / they dream the same thing, apart.” So they pack a wicker basket, a spyglass, and a banner and wave goodbye. The ocean provides plenty of interest with dolphins, whales, and Bad Hats with ratty beards (depicted as Vikings who differ only in the amount of their facial hair). There’s also a cat. The dreamy, highly textured oil pictures by Cecil in his signature palette of gentle grays, greens, and blues make the transition from land to sea seamlessly. With a tender nod to “The Owl and the Pussycat,” the scenery is full of diversions while the clever rhyming verse full of wordplay drifts the story farther from Home. The hazy images allow young minds to see this tiny princess with dark hair as racially ambiguous. As in many famous stories, one must leave home to find home, which is the same for these two loving friends. “With Dragon as boat / and Girl as crew / there was nothing—nothing—they couldn’t do!”

Fans of the series will delight in seeing these favorites again, and Girl and Dragon should win some new ones. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7313-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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