Monday, January 07, 2013

Three-Alarm Dragon! Oh, No, Little Dragon! by Jim Averbeck

Little Dragon is clearly coming into his fiery powers. Thanks to that spark in his heart, he can huff and puff up a pretty impressive PHOOOSH! and push out an impressive plume of flame, earning a congratulatory kiss from Mommy.

But like most youngsters, he just can't resist upping the ante.


"Oh, Little Dragon," says Mama.

"I love your flame! But look how sooty you are. Time for a bath!"

Like most youngsters, Little Dragon also hates a bath--until he's in it. Then he loves it. He brings along his little Viking boat and begins to see what he can do to pester its imaginary crew. He tries out a little flame, and then a bigger one, and then a final Phoooosh scorches his ship to a fiery crisp. Luckily, Little Dragon knows what it takes to cope with his overheated pyrotechnics--and he's sitting in a full tub of it!


Little Dragon's dive generates a mini-tsunami in the tub, one that not only sinks his boat, but inundates him as well. GLUG! Oh, no!

The fire on board ship is quenched, but unfortunately, so is his own internal flame. A phooosh! produces nothing but a tiny puff of smoke! Little Dragon tries all the "draconian" home remedies--dressing warmly, rubbing his tummy till it's pink, and finally gobbling hot chili peppers. That one is counterproductive, producing only watery eyes! Who can help Little Dragon re-kindle the spark in his heart?

Jim Averbeck's jolly latest, Oh No, Little Dragon! (Atheneum, 2012) knows that mamas have the remedy for 'most everything when it comes to their youngsters. Averbeck's simple comic illustrations of a dragon family and their appropriately furnished castle are fine chuckle-bait for a preschool storytime, with its well-paced text and refrain of "Oh, NO!" as Little Dragon's incendiary powers blow hot and cold.  While Publishers Weekly dutifully points out that this theme is a bit,  well, warmed over, its reviewer adds "this endearingly impish hero should find fans."

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