Sunday, December 24, 2017

Letter Perfect! Dear Dragon: A Pen-Pal Tale by Josh Funk

Hello, students! Our Poetry and Pen Pal Projects this year are combined.

Open your desks. You will see the pen pal you have been assigned. Make sure the letters you write are all in rhyme.

Young George is a bit daunted with his assignment as he opens his first letter from his pen pal:

Dear George Slair,

I usually don't like writing, but... I'll try it, I suppose.
A fort is like a castle. I love attacking those.
                                      Sincerely, Blaise Dragomir

Hmmm. George's pen pal sounds promising: he even likes to sky-dive. Wow! He writes back, asking if Blaise has a pet. Blaise claims that he has a Bengal kitten, and George is impressed, imagining Blaise diving through the sky with a tiger on his team.

And actually George is not too far off the mark. His pen pal, Blaise Dragomir, is actually a young dragon, but as George Slair and Blaise Dragomir continue their correspondence, they find out that they have a lot of things in common, even if their dads have really different jobs (fire-breather vs. demolition), and when their teachers announce that the P.P.P.P. will end with a picnic, they are psyched about finally meeting their pen pals.

But there are some surprises in store for the two groups of epistolary poets!



All ends well, with the pen pals playing nonstop in the park, in Josh Funk's Dear Dragon: A Pen Pal Tale (Viking, 2016). Young readers may note the clues in Funk's clever names for his correspondents, and some may guess Blaise Dragomir's true identity as the letter exchange continues, with visual cues provided by artist Rodolfo Montalvo's light-hearted and busy full-bleed illustrations, with the theme that despite differences, all kids have a lot of common.

For more humorous human-dragon interchanges, share this book with Adam Salieri's best-selling hit Dragons Love Tacos and sequels (read review here).

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