There’s a Dragon In My Popcorn  – Tom Nicoll, illustrated by Sarah Horne

There’s a Dragon In My Popcorn  – Tom Nicoll, illustrated by Sarah Horne. Tiger Tales, 2021. 9781680104721

  • Format: Paperback

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

 Genre: fantasy

What did you like about the book? Eric and his mini-dragon Pan love movies; after an outing to see “Slugwoman Begins,” the pair brainstorm ideas for a movie of their own.  And when Eric’s mom shares a flyer for a children’s filmmaking contest with a superhero theme, their enthusiasm leads them to hammer out a script with parts custom-made for Eric’s best friends Jayden (as “Captain Cool”) and Min (“Einstein Girl”), and plan to shoot the action with Eric’s mom’s phone.  Unfortunately, Toby, the spoiled, rich boy-next-door gets wind of the competition and takes over the project.  Toby buys fancy equipment and hires a production team, and totally excludes Eric and his friends.  Eric decides not to enter the contest, even though he doesn’t want to disappoint his friends.  His parents, unwittingly aided by the tech-savvy and mischievous Pan, figure out a way for Eric’s movie to get made in time for the contest.  But will it be enough to outshine Toby’s epic offering?

Pan is settling in nicely in Eric’s world in this 5th book in a series.  Other than at the movie theater at the beginning, he doesn’t cause as much destruction as readers might be used to from the earlier books, but his earnestness to help his human friends is sweet, as is Eric’s attachment to the mini-dragon.  The banter between Eric, Jayden, and Min is really funny, and Toby is over-the-top as the villain as always.  Whimsical illustrations provide extra entertainment, as do the occasional handwritten lists. 

Anything you did not like about the book?  It’s just not quite as funny as previous outings.

 To whom would you recommend this book? 2nd – 4th grade readers who like humor and light fantasy will enjoy this, particularly if they’ve read the previous books in the series.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Fiction

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  no

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.

Date of review: 6/30/2021

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