BooksForKidsBlog

Friday, December 02, 2016

The Santa Trap: How to Catch Santa by Jean Reagan

IT'S FINALLY CHRISTMAS EVE, AND THAT'S WHEN YOU TRY TO CATCH SANTA.

Mind you, this brother-and-sister conspiracy are not aiming to hold Santa hostage. That would be the end of Christmas as we know it. They know that Santa has a lot of stops to make, but there are some questions that generations of kids have been waiting to ask their special saint.

Like this biggy:

WHAT ABOUT HOUSES WITH NO CHIMNEYS?

But like the famous recipe for rabbit stew, before you ask those questions, you've first got to snag a Santa. Forget the silly schemes. You don't lasso Santa with last year's cowboy lariat! You don't dig a dead fall trap in the snow! No!

INSTEAD, BE CRAFTY! BE GENTLE!

Perhaps you won't actually catch Santa--or even catch a glimpse of jolly Old Saint Nick! Still, if you are clever, you can rig it so that you have clues that Santa was really and truly there!

WRITE SANTA A NOTE AND FILL IT WITH GLITTER!

But if you want more than a glittery trail for evidence of Santa's visit, you're going to want to see him in the flesh. And that means you've got to figure out how to stay awake all night. Pull out all your old games and keep playing by the light of the Christmas tree's glow. But stay quiet and listen for the telltale sounds of sleigh bells so you can zip to your hiding place for your Santa observations. And if you still fall asleep and miss the whole show, well....

"There's always next year," in Jean Reagan's How to Catch Santa (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016). Reuniting with artist Lee Wildish, Reagan takes on concocting the really serious how-to that all children have wished for, how to stay up and see Santa on the job. Even in the granddaddy of all "seeing Santa" stories, Clement C. Moore's The Night Before Christmas, Classic Edition by Clement C. Moore, (1995-01-02) it's the ever-protective and vigilant dad who really discovers St. Nicholas on the job. But that won't stop kids from conspiring to spot Santa, and who better to provide advice than Reagan and Wildish, whose earlier how-to-books, How to Raise a Mom, How to Surprise a Dad, How to Babysit a Grandpa, and How to Babysit a Grandma, have been top sellers. And for slightly younger would-be Santa spotters, there's always that evergreen Christmas classic, Rosemary Well's Max's Christmas (Max and Ruby).

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Thursday, December 01, 2016

Holiday Liftoff! Splat the Cat: Christmas Countdown by Rob Scotten


IT'S SUNDOWN ON CHRISTMAS EVE.

Splat the Cat should be chilling out beside the tree with the family and dreaming of sugarplums and stuffed stockings on Christmas morning.

But, noooooo! The frenetic Splat decides that there's not enough space in his living room for Santa to unload his presents. He chooses a tall, skinny, scratchy fir tree that doesn't spread its branches too far, topped by a tall skinny but shiny star.

Scat stays up, wrapping his gifts is sparkly paper, getting himself well tangled in the textured grosgrain red ribbons. And then, at last it is bedtime, and Scat is sure that in the morning he'll find that SANTA HAS COME!

And he does.

For young ones just beginning to get the holiday hang of the season, with tree decoration and holiday gifts to come, Rob Scotton's touch-feely little Scat the Cat story, Splat the Cat: Christmas Countdown (Harper Festival, 2015) is great, with its illustrations offering tactile experience for toddlers and tots amid the preparations of Christmas.  This one is the perfect open-before-Christmas book for the very youngest.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Christmas Cover-up: Gingerbread Christmas by Jan Brett

EVERYONE IN THE VILLAGE IS TALKING ABOUT THE CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL.

MATTI TOLD THE GINGERBREAD BABY.

"I CAN SING IN MY GINGERBREAD BAND!" THE GINGERBREAD BABY SANG OUT.

Matti points out that his Gingerbread Baby doesn't exactly have a band. But that's no hindrance for these two master bakers, who quickly mix up a batch of ginger cookie dough and shape them into band instruments, who bounce right out of the oven and begin to warm up as soon as Matti adds the detail of strings and keys with decorative frosting.

Matti hitches up his cheerful hen to the sleigh and the band rehearses all the way to the little Alpine village, where the festivities are already in progress. Gingerbread Baby and his gingery musical mates take the stage and start their spicy serenade. The townspeople begin to dance to the sweet waltz music. But then one sharp-eyed girl in the audience steps up close and peers at the jolly musicians.

"I THINK THESE INSTRUMENTS ARE REALLY COOKIES!" SAID ANN-SOPHIE.

"I SO WANT ONE!"

Oops! Gingerbread Baby and Matti had planned on providing music for the festival, not refreshments!

Thinking quickly the Gingerbread Baby does what he does best--he leads the villagers in a chase around the village Christmas tree, as he sings....

"Silver stars twinkle in the night. Silver trees and snow delight!

Hand in hand we twinkle around. Twinkle in the magic sound."

Unnoticed, the gingery instruments slip behind the stage, where Matti quickly scoops of handfuls of snow and converts the cookie instruments into covert jolly snowmen, and loading them on his sleigh and giving his draft chicken a quiet Giddyup, the clandestine musical snowmen disappear from sight into the night.

That was a close one, Matti thinks, as he makes for home with his camouflaged and intact cookie crew,

And meanwhile the Gingerbread Baby himself cleverly takes cover in plain sight amid the Christmasy decorations on the giant village tree, in author-illustrator Jan Brett's third Gingerbread Baby story, Gingerbread Christmas (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2016). Brett saves an even bigger treat than cookies for her fans, with a enormous two-page pop-up Christmas tree, filled with bright decorations and one Gingerbread boy, bravely trying to blend in.

It's another jolly and bright Christmas story, illustrated in her signature style with plenty of red and green and predictive side panels and frames which forecast what happens next for sharp-eyed readers, in yet another illustratively attractive classic Christmas tale for the best-selling Brett. Other popular Christmas tales by Jan Brett include The Wild Christmas Reindeer, The Night Before Christmas by Jan Brett, (2011-11-01), The Three Snow Bears, and Who's That Knocking on Christmas Eve?

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Best Christmas Pageant! A Night of Great Joy! by Mary Engelbreit

THE ANGEL SAID, "DO NOT BE AFRAID. I BRING TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY."

The little angel, her halo almost in place, takes her place before the closed curtain and delivers her proclamation, while the curtain twitches and two excited little faces peep out at the assembled audience of proud parents.

What is better than a children's Nativity pageant to lead off the celebratory season, and in her characteristic style, Mary Engelbreit delivers her own introduction to the holiday in her A Night of Great Joy (Zonderkidz, 2016).

Engelbreit's portrayal of the presentation of the annual Christmas performance features her trademark rosy and chubby-cheeked youngsters of all sorts, some serious, some shy, and some a bit silly, with Mary arriving on stage in a little red wagon with a toy horse head mounted on the front, pulled by a little red-haired Joseph sporting a bristly beard. The babe in the manger looks a lot like somebody's well-loved Raggedy Andy, and a rocking horse stands quietly by, while the plump little actor in the cow costume dozes off beside him.

"HELLO, JESUS," SAID MARY.

The Three Kings, appropriately crowned and gowned, appear gravely with all the dignity they can summon, as two shepherds scuffle a little over who possesses the toy sheep and the angel choir has a little to-do over their places. At last the Star rises and the choir, finally sorted out, stand still to sing the old, old song.

There's no reason why a presentation of the Adoration cannot be adorable, and the latest Engelbreit title joins her earlier catalog of Christmas confections--Mary Engelbreit's Nutcracker, The Best Christmas Ever With Mary Engelbreit, The Big Book of Santa and of course, her classic The Night Before Christmas.

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Goldengrove's Unleaving: Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson

Each morning when Fletcher bounded out of the den, everything seemed just a little bit different. The rich green of summer was turning to dusty gold.

And Fletcher the little fox becomes disturbed about what is happening to his favorite tree.

"I think my tree is sick," said Fletcher. "What is wrong?"

"Don't worry. It's just autumn," said his mother.

The tree's leaves are turning russet and brown, and when the first one falls, Fletcher runs to catch the leaf and poke it back into the tree trunk. But the cold wind soon sends many more of the leaves whirling down and away.

"Don't worry, tree. I'll catch them for you!" Fletcher promises.

But Fletcher can't keep up with the swirling, falling leaves that spin out of sight. He sees that he cannot keep his promise to the tree. At last only one leaf clings to a twig. When it falls, he sadly takes it home and makes it a cozy little place to sleep.

But just before dawn Fletcher wakes and tiptoes outside where the tree stands cold and alone.

But it's not bare; in the moonshine, Fletcher sees that his tree is hung with shimmering icicles that twinkle like the starlight.

In Julia Rawlingson's Fletcher and the Falling Leaves (Greenwillow Books, 2016, rev. ed.), the author wisely lets little Fletcher experience fully both the grief of the changes time inevitably brings and yet the hope for what is to come. In this revised paperback edition, the artist Tiphanie Beeke aptly offers lovely new impressionistic illustrations, done in softly pointillist watercolor style, with an emotional depth that heightens the punch of Rawlinson's premise and with her final page filled with a glowing illustration of the bare but beautiful, shimmering tree, perhaps a promise of the yet unspoken spring to come. Says School Library Journal, "Picture books about nature sometimes suffer from cloying, excessively pastoral language or imagery; this rare example succumbs to neither." And Kirkus Reviews adds, "A poetic tribute to winter and fall.... sure to resonate with young readers."

Rawlinson's other sensitive stories of the seasons are Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms, and Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas.

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Nose Knows! Llama Llama Yum Yum Yum! by Anna Dewdney

LLAMA LLAMA
LOVES TO EAT,

SNACKS AND MEALS
AND SPECIAL TREATS
.

Eggs and toast and a glass of O.J. start the day.

There's a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to munch for lunch, and juice and crackers are afternoon snackers.

And in between Llama Llama goes with Mama to the grocery store for more. Veggies and cheese are sure to please.

And back home again, supper is a real slurper-upper, with Llama Llama's favorite. Spaghetti is quickly ready, and with spicy herbs and a sprinkle of cheese, it's always time for "More, please!"

And then there's the finale--a dish of ice cream with a cherry on top. For both picky eaters or young foodies, Anna Dewdney's rhyming Little Llama tale, Llama Llama Yum Yum Yum! (Grosset and Dunlap, 2016), has an extra treat along with little Llama's choices to eat. It's a scratch-and-sniff board book, featuring the smells of favorite foods: sweet and fruity (grape jelly in the sandwich) and sour (a sample dill pickle from the deli counter), tangy orange in the juice, and a hint of herb-y oregano in the pasta, with a cherry-vanilla dessert chaser.

Food can be fun, and with Llama Llama, they'll all say YUM. Anna Dewdney's delightful preschool rhymes and charming illustrations are a tasty treat in the little scratch-and-sniff board book just right for a toddler's stocking stuffer.

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

To Thine Own Self Be True! Be Who You Are by Todd Parr

BE OLD! BE YOUNG!

BE A DIFFERENT COLOR!

Just be yourself! If being a different color suits you, as Todd Parr puts it, you can be seen as pink, purple, or green!

Of course, kids hearing this story are not going to get the opportunity to be purple, but Parr's latest, Be Who You Are (Little, Brown, 2016), does make a plea for trying out being whatever you can be.

TRY NEW THINGS!

And Parr's bright illustrations offer a choice of colorful food trucks to try--Tacos, pizzas, noodles!

A mouse tries out standing up to a cat, with a firm NO!

Parr's illustrations are super-saturated, super silly, and doubtlessly inviting for youngsters who will appreciate a little hyperbole along with their advice for conduct of life, and as a companion to his top-selling companion title, It's Okay To Be Different, Parr's brand-new book, Be Who You Are (Little, Brown and Company, 2016) is perfect for pairing as a read-aloud for preschoolers or an easy read-alone for beginning readers.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Missing! The Crayon's Book of Numbers by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

DUNCAN'S TEN CRAYONS HAVE GONE MISSING!

What is sadder than an almost new box of crayons with one missing?

A box with ALL the crayons missing!

Duncan's crayons are famous for having minds of their own, and it seems that each one in the box of ten has been busy doing its thing.

Crayon One has found a wizard who must be PURPLE.

Crayon Two turns up, predictably coloring crocs GREEN.

Following their proclivities can lead the color detective to the correct crayon. Crayons YELLOW and ORANGE, true to their type, are vying for the honor of tinting the sun.

Following the trail, Duncan manages to round up all of them, BEIGE still complaining about being called light brown, and and RED still schlepping apples and strawberries into baskets, and, giving his all to provide everybody's favorite hue, BLUE, worn down and stubbier than ever.

What's best of all? A full box of not-quite-so new crayons and an afternoon of colorful artwork, in Drew Daywalt's and Oliver Jeffer's satisfying crayon hunt, The Crayons' Book of Numbers (Grosset and Dunlap, 2016), as Duncan picks up all his crayons and puts them back in their proper place. Top-selling cohorts Daywalt and Jeffers venture back into the board book genre for this jolly counting book that inspires cleaning up and counting in one fell swoop. With this companion to their recent concept book, The Crayons' Book of Colors, the duo of Jeffers and Daywalt continue their popular series for the preschool set. What's next for these outside-the-box collaborators? The Crayons Color the Seasons? The Crayons Color the Shapes?

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

It's So Good! Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs by Eric Litwin and Tom Lichtenheld

GROOVY JOE SAW SOMETHING YUMMY.

GROOVY JOE STARTED RUBBING HIS TUMMY.

It's going good for Groovy Joe.

What Joe sees is a Haagen Dogs ice cream truck. And what he gets is a tub of strawberry ice cream. And a spoon. Life is groovy.

GROOVY JOE IS LIVING THE DREAM.

But just as Joe sits down to enjoy his cool treat, a tiny tricerotops ROARS into the room, pulls out a spoon and ties on a bib. He's having some ice cream, invitation or no invitation.

Does Joe lose his groove? Nope.

"IT'S AWESOME TO SHARE!" HE SINGS.

Joe and the little dino dude dive into to their delicious ice cream, but soon there is another rude interruption.

ROAR! It's an big dinosaur butting in. He brandishes a spoon and puts on a big bib and pulls up a chair to dish himself a prodigious helping. But does Joe blow his top? No! He repeats his melodic mantra.

"IT'S AWESOME TO SHARE!!" HE SINGS.

All's well for the moment as the trio chows down on their frozen treat. But then it happens again!

ROAR!! A huge dinosaur crashes through the door, Without observing any niceties, he ties on a big bib, plunks down into a chair, and producing a huge spoon, digs right into the ice cream carton.

Does Groovy Joe hit the ceiling? Not at all. He repeats his cheery refrain:

"IT'S AWESOME TO SHARE!!!"

But then there's a predictable problem. The carton is empty. The ice cream is gone.

But Groovy Joe chooses to take metaphoric lemons and make lively lemonade. He turns the ice cream carton upside down and turns it into a drum, rat-a-tat-tatting with his spoon, and the three dinosaurs jump into line, dancing to the beat.

Even faced with the worst guests at table ever, author Eric Litwin's other cool character, Pete the Cat, would say "It's all good," in his Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs (Groovy Joe 1) (Scholastic/Orchard Books, 2016).

What do you get when you combine best-selling author Eric Litwin with best-selling illustrator Tom Lichtenheld (for Rinkey's Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site)? You get the first installment of the jaunty Groovy Joe series, with a message about the virtues of sharing goodies (even with the worst-mannered guests imaginable), and with comic creatures done in Lichtenheld's signature blackline and strong color, creating illustrations that make making the best of a bad situation look like jolly good fun for storytime, with a included link to Joe's cheery chant online. Says Kirkus Reviews, "a catchy tune, dancing dinosaurs, and strawberry ice cream are an enticing combination."

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Overnighter! Naughty Mabel Sees It All by Nathan Lane and Devlin Elliott

"Okay, Darlings, before I turn the page, let me preface this by saying that what you are about to see isn't entirely my fault.

Now I know this looks bad, but let a girl explain."

Mabel, that doggy diva, is back. A pampered society pet, this social-climbing French bulldog, is thrilled, darlings, to have copped an invitation for a sleepover with her posh neighbors, Smarty Cat and Scaredy Cat.

The overnighter comes as a welcome break. Mabel is becoming a bit bored with watching Martha Stewart cooking yet another couscous dish. And then she mistakes a bowl of potpourri for her doggy dish, resulting in a definite improvement in her breath, and, um, other odours, but otherwise no cure for her ennui.

So it is with great anticipation and elan that she packs "everything" for the occasion at the mansion of Smarty and Scaredy's mother, the creme de la creme of elite society and academia, the noted paleontologist, Professor Millicent Murgatroyd, Her hostess, however, serves up only old black and white movies for entertainment, not Mabel's cup of tea.

But although Mabel comes prepared to see some old bones lying about, she is not prepared for what she does see. One shadowy monster on the wall becomes two, and then the two multiply into many.

I knew it was a monster. The room was crawling with them!

I grabbed the nearest weapon (Millicent Murgatroyd's walker). She did not seem to appreciate my efforts.

Maybe if she cleaned up her house once in a while, it would not be infested with monsters.

I decided this wasn't the best time to bring that up!

Faced with a strangely rampaging guest lambasting her dinosaur skulls and fancy furniture, Professor Murgatroyd calls Mabel's parents to come for her, and Mabel goes home in disgrace. So much for her high society sleepover.

But all is forgiven when Mabel is discovered to have double vision and she is off to the octopotamus for an eye exam and new contacts, in Nathan Lane and Devlin Elliott's second book about a stylish but naughty French bulldog, Naughty Mabel Sees It All (Simon and Schuster, 2016). Although Mabel's self-consciously snooty references to the passe' couscous and potpourri may be marginally funny for adult read-alouders, it will go over the heads of younger readers, and while her slapstick destruction of the neighbor's household may please younger listeners, it may all seem a bit silly to third-graders, but for those many fans of the first book, Naughty Mabel, (see review here) this tale of the diplopic Mabel may be an amusing episode in the life of this posh and pampered pooch.

As a bit of reassurance to kids who wear glasses, pair this one with Ged Adamson's quite funny, Douglas, You Need Glasses! (see review here).

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Spy Kids En Pointe! Boy in a Tutu (Spies in Disguise) by Kate Scott

If I could go back in time and tell my old self that he was going to leave his home, his school, and go on the run from enemy spies--and have to go undercover AS A GIRL--he would have laughed.

But I am not laughing. Sam is, though. Loudly. "I can't wait to see you in a tutu." She dissolves in giggles.

We're up in my room with the file Mom and Dad gave us to go over, but Sam seems more interested in my new disguise.

I ignore her. I want to be a proper spy, and doing well in this job is the first step to making sure that happens.

Joe's parents are professional spies, now in a sort of witness protection system which requires deep cover. Mom and Dad are used to this sort of thing, Disguise is their specialty. But for Joe, this is an enormous change!

"I've had to go undercover--as a girl.

To throw the enemy agents off, Joe has to portray a convincing ten-year-old blonde girl named Josie, complete with sparkly bunny hair clips. Only his best friend Samantha, a.k.a., Sam, knows his real identity, and she comes in handy when he needs some lessons in faking a girly-girl. As his BFF, Sam provides perfect cover.

But according to headquarters the counterspy agents are getting too close for comfort, and Josie's parents come up with a double mission for Josie and Sam: Josie will take an intensive ballet class at the local community center to establish his identity as a girl, and the two kids will also be charged with helping foil a rumored planned heist of the Soccer Memorabilia exhibit scheduled at the same time as their dance recital. Josie and Sam are given training and lots of cool spy gear--self-stick eyeball cameras, tamper testers, tracking devices, and a laser mapping wand. Using the ballet class as a entree to the building, they soon have the whole building bugged and are beginning to gather information about the employees.

But Josie and Sam settle on different suspects. Josie is sure the swim team director is the true soccer thief, because he hangs around the soccer display a lot and because he tries to recruit Josie and other kids to swim in his swimming match as an excuse to case the Soccer exhibit. Sam becomes convinced that their ballet teacher is the real crook, setting up a loud and raucous finale to their recital to cover the robbery.

Sometimes it feels like Sam's better at everything than I am.

Sometimes that's a bit annoying.

But as they continue to spy on their respective suspects, Sam and Josie discover that they are both right--there are dual bad guys at work in this caper. And together they come up with a masterfully clever switch for the swim meet which foils the counterspy coach's plot to, er, reveal Josie's real identity and endanger him and his parents.

There's plenty of suspenseful spy kids sleuthing, spy talk, and clandestine gizmos in Kate Scott's clever Spies in Disguise: Boy in a Tutu (Scholastic Press, 2016), now available in a new American paperback edition tailor-made for the middle reader trade. Joe's uneasy role playing a girly-girl with pink kitten hair clips and a sparkly tutu adds some light-hearted humor to the spy-story genre, with just the right hint of real danger to heighten the action.

Other books in this series are Spies in Disguise: Boy in Tights and Spies in Disguise: Boys in Heels.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Misbehaving! Dragon Was Terrible by Kelly Dipucchio

NATURALLY, DRAGONS HAVE A BIT OF TERRIBLE IN THEM BECAUSE THEY'RE DRAGONS.

BUT THIS DRAGON HERE? TERRIBLE!

Dragons are supposed to keep their smoky mischief beyond the pale, properly out in countryside caves, curating their hoards and blasting knights on chargers seeking adventure and fame.

But this one? He's just a home-town jerk!

HE SCRIBBLED IN BOOKS.

HE TOOK CANDY FROM BABY UNICORNS.

HE SPIT ON CUPCAKES!

(WHO DOES THAT?)

The king advertises for brave knights to rid the walled city of this threat to civil deportment, but the run-of-the-mill heroes all fail. Dragon continues in his deplorable behavior.

HE BURPED IN CHURCH.

But a brave young lad in a feathered cap steps up to the challenge. He sets up an easel and sketches out the beginnings of a story. He lays a trail of marshmallows to lead Dragon to a shady tree where the lad settles himself, reading a storybook aloud. Dragon feigns disinterest, but circles around and stealthily climbs the tree to listen. Just as the story gets really interesting....

SNAP! CRASH! DRAGON LANDED WITH A THUD ON THE GROUND.

"WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR HOW THE STORY ENDS?" THE BOY ASKED.

DRAGON SMILED.

It seems even impudent dragons delight in a good story, especially one with a hero dragon, in Kelly DiPucchio's latest, Dragon Was Terrible (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016),  With the help of noted artist Greg Pizzoli's comic cartoon characters, kids will laugh at this rude dragon, a perfectly awful spoiled preschooler type, who nevertheless falls for a good storyline, turning the page on beastly behavior for his inner dragon. "This is one terribly good dragon tale that will leave readers laughing," says Kirkus in their starred review.

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Misbehaving! Dragon Was Terrible by Kelly Dipucchio

NATURALLY, DRAGONS HAVE A BIT OF TERRIBLE IN THEM BECAUSE THEY'RE DRAGONS.

BUT THIS DRAGON HERE? TERRIBLE!

Dragons are supposed to keep their smoky mischief beyond the pale, properly out in countryside caves, curating their hoards and blasting knights on chargers seeking adventure and fame.

But this one? He's just a home-town jerk!

HE SCRIBBLED IN BOOKS.

HE TOOK CANDY FROM BABY UNICORNS.

HE SPIT ON CUPCAKES!

(WHO DOES THAT?)

The king advertises for brave knights to rid the walled city of this threat to civil deportment, but the run-of-the-mill heroes all fail. Dragon continues in his deplorable behavior.

HE BURPED IN CHURCH.

But a brave young lad in a feathered cap steps up to the challenge. He sets up an easel and sketches out the beginnings of a story. He lays a trail of marshmallows to lead Dragon to a shady tree where the lad settles himself, reading a storybook aloud. Dragon feigns disinterest, but circles around and stealthily climbs the tree to listen. Just as the story gets really interesting....

SNAP! CRASH! DRAGON LANDED WITH A THUD ON THE GROUND.

"WOULD YOU LIKE TO HEAR HOW THE STORY ENDS?" THE BOY ASKED.

DRAGON SMILED.

It seems even impudent dragons delight in a good story, especially one with a hero dragon, in Kelly DiPucchio's latest, Dragon Was Terrible (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016),  With the help of noted artist Greg Pizzoli's comic cartoon characters, kids will laugh at this rude dragon, a perfectly awful spoiled preschooler type, who nevertheless falls for a good storyline, turning the page on beastly behavior for his inner dragon. "This is one terribly good dragon tale that will leave readers laughing," says Kirkus in their starred review.

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