Monday, February 6, 2012

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

Me and My Dragon, by David Biedrzycki, 32 pages.

Some children long for a pet cat. Others would choose a dog. The little boy in David Biedrzycki’s latest picture book, however, has his heart set on a pet dragon.
Some planning for such an unusual pet is definitely necessary.
Firstly, where can you find a dragon? Secondly, is a fire-breathing or a non-fiery dragon the best choice? Thirdly, do you want a one, two or three-headed dragon?
One of the most important considerations of all is to choose a dragon that will fit in your house (as opposed to a house that will fit your dragon!)
Be sure to buy your dragon a collar and leash so that you can take him for a walk each day. He’ll need some special dragon toys, too.
Here’s some more useful advice: give your dragon lots of room at home and keep a fire extinguisher handy. Don’t forget to teach your dragon how to fly. Most importantly, hug him every day and read to him each night.
If you are lucky enough to “own” a dragon, you likely don’t need to worry about bullies bothering you, or about having to eat your brussel sprouts - dragons love them, apparently (brussel sprouts, that is, not bullies).
David Biedrzycki’s clever tongue-in-cheek “instruction guide” also provides tips about dragon discipline and diet. With its colourful, goofy illustrations, it’s a “must-read” for any child who dreams of owning a pet dragon!
** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years.
Wishworks, inc.  by Stephanie Tolan, 146 pages.
@ SPL:  J FIC Tolan

Feeling lonely at his new school, Max wants very much to have a dog – a dog to be his best friend, one that would join him in all sorts of exciting adventures. Perhaps a dog could keep those three bullies from harassing him every day at school, too. (It’s not his fault that he’s “the new kid”, or that he, his mom and little sister have had to move because of his parents’ divorce.) Max is sure that a dog would help everything that’s going wrong for him lately.
When Max discovers a mysterious store called “Wishworks, inc.”, that grants wishes (“guaranteed”) for its customers, he asks for a dog.
By no stretch of the imagination is “Ratty” the big, strong dog that Max has envisioned in his daydreams. A scruffy, thin, stray dog, Ratty no sooner appears on Max’s doorstep that she is into one act of mischief and trouble after another. Max can’t, for one second, imagine Ratty accompanying him on thrilling adventures to vanquish dragons, two-headed beasts … or bullies at school.
Max and Ratty do have “adventures” together, but they’re certainly not the type of adventures that Max has been dreaming about - except in his nightmares!
Max decides to visit Wishworks inc. again to ask for a second wish. The results are unanticipated, to say the least!
Likeable characters and an engaging plotline with some surprising twists add up to an enjoyable story that exemplifies the theme, “Be careful what you wish for (and what you “unwish” too).”
** Recommended for ages 8 to 11 years.

These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on February 2, 2012. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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