Heart to Heart! Evermore Dragon by Barbara Joose
AT THE BREAK OF DERRY-DAY
THE FRIENDS DECIDED WHAT TO PLAY.
DRAGON JUMPED UP AND DOWN. "ME FIRST!"
While Girl closes her eyes to count, Dragon hustles off to hide--behind a rather small (that is to say, way too little rock to hide his bulky, angular body. But Girl kindly pretends to search for him fruitlessly.
SHE PEEKED INSIDE HIS LAIR.
"NO, HE ISN'T THERE!
As she feigns being flummoxed, Dragon jumps out with a jolly "BOO!" and Girl declares him the cleverest Dragon ever!
But now it is Girl's turn to hide and she is determined to show Dragon she can be truly clever. She climbs inside a hole in a tree, and totally concealed, she waits to be found.
DRAGON LOOKS EVERYWHERE... EVERY HERE, EVERY THERE.
And Girl waits... and waits, and finally falls asleep in the cozy dark of the hollow. But when she awakes, it's not bright derry-day; it is a deep, deep dark outside her hiding place, too. Where is Dragon? Girl tries not to cry, but she cannot control the loud, fast beating of her heart.
And still searching, the loyal Dragon's super senses catch the faint sound of her heart.
AND HE BREATHED HIS DRAGON FIRE
AND IT LIGHTED UP THE SKY.
And all's well that ends well for the frightened maiden and her protector dragon, in Caldecott-winning author (for Mama, Do You Love Me?) Barbara Joosse in her Evermore Dragon (Candlewick Press, 2015), a companion book to her Lovabye Dragon. (see my 2012 review here). Damsels and dragons are a staple of folkloric tales, and Joose's clever wordplay and artist Randy Cecil's atypical fairy-tale illustrations make a striking pair together in this quixotic picture book. As Publishers Weekly puts it, "The unexpected contours of Cecil's figures, like Girl's pancake-flat head and Dragon's ping pong ball eyes, add smiles, but there's also unexpected depth in the tiny, scratchy strokes and dusky shades of his paintings. It's a noteworthy alternative to more commercially flavored princess stories."