Lovabye Dragon

September 2012. 32p. 978-0-76365-408-5. 15.99.
PreS-Gr 1–Once there was Girl, perhaps a princess, who longed to have a dragon for a friend. “Oh, she cried silver tears/many, many tears/so wishing for a dragon/so lonely for a dragon,” and those tears trickle out of the castle to a distant mountain where Dragon wakes from his dreams. He follows the silvery trail back to the girl waiting in her lonely room, and they go to a shell-strewn beach where Dragon makes a fire. He wraps his tail protectively around her and Girl sings to him. On a very fine final spread, Girl rides on Dragon’s back through the drifting clouds of a starry night. The fairy-tale setting, lilting repetitive verses, and whimsical characters are wonderfully done. Oil paintings, using a blue, gray, and gold palette, suggest that a toy dragon and three shiny soldiers with swords drawn have come to life, giving an added dimension to the text. This satisfying tale of two forever friends is both a comforting bedtime story and affirmation that sometimes dreams do come true.–Mary Jean Smith, formerly at Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN
A lonely young princess (well, she’s called a girl, but the family portraits in her castle show crowns) yearns for a friend -- a dragon friend. Fortunately, in a cave under a mountain, a real dragon is dreaming of a girl for a friend. Once the "all-alone" girl’s lonely tears make their rhyming way from her castle to his cave ("past a boat in the moat / past a frog in the bog"), the dragon follows them back (reversing the rhyming sequence); happily, the fact that he’s much the louder and larger of the two in no way inhibits their joyful play together. Readers needn’t notice that the dragon represents the power of imagination, nor that he embodies the possibility of befriending someone different; those thoughts are nicely embedded in the story, and Joosse’s buoyant verse keeps the mood light. Cecil’s jaunty, toylike characters are amusingly angular; his dreamy nighttime palette of gray-blue and -green oils suits the lullaby mood of a bedtime charmer that should be equally at home with a rambunctious morning group. joanna rudge long
A lonely young girl yearns for a friend--a dragon friend. In a cave under a mountain, a real dragon is dreaming of a girl for a friend. Once the "all-alone" girl's lonely tears make their rhyming way to his cave, the dragon follows them back (reversing the rhyming sequence). Joosse's buoyant verse keeps things light. Cecil's dreamy nighttime palette suits the lullaby mood.

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