Where is the Dragon? – written and illustrated by Leo Timmers, translated by James Brown, Gecko Press, 9781776573110, 2021
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? This cute import from the Netherlands features somewhat stilted rhyming text and the hunt for a dragon. After the king has a nightmare, he sends his three knights out with minimal instructions to find the beast. It’s dark out, so the brave trio keeps mistaking shadowy figures for the dragon. But once they move in with their candle, they find a pile of sleeping bunnies or a family of snoozing bears. Nothing to fear! After three false alarms, they head back to the castle, missing the last apparition, who of course is the dragon. Now roused, the giant reptile heads off to scare the king up into his chandelier. The illustrations might be digital or mixed media and are very cool and sophisticated. The knights all have interesting tin can style armor and each is blessed with a highly individualized giant nose. All the characters are White.
Anything you didn’t like about it? The visuals far outshine the text, so much so that the words become superfluous. It is definitely a one joke story; once we know that the shadows will resolve themselves into peaceful sleeping animals, even a 3-year-old can probably guess that the one they skip will turn out to be the real monster. Some of the word choices seemed odd: “alleged” to rhyme with “veg”, neither likely to resonate with this age group.
To whom would you recommend this book? Kids age 3-6 would enjoy this. It could be a good suggestion for those with nighttime fears, although as the dragon actually does materialize, it might not be very comforting.
Who should buy this book? Public libraries
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: February 20, 2021
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