The Tin Forest with another somewhat eerie fantasy about the power of imagination. In a nod to the legend of Saint George, a lonely, dra"/>

THE DRAGON MACHINE

Helen Ward, Author, Wayne Anderson, Illustrator , illus. by Wayne Anderson. Dutton $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-47114-1

Ward and Anderson follow The Tin Forest with another somewhat eerie fantasy about the power of imagination. In a nod to the legend of Saint George, a lonely, dragon-loving boy of the same name begins seeing dragons everywhere he looks. Pictures show George, disproportionately small compared to the adults around him, as he alone spies dragon heads poking out from purses, and tails wiggling out of sewer grates: "Ignored and overlooked, the dragons went unnoticed... just like George." Both art and narrative (presented in a medieval-ish typeface) seesaw between whimsical and somber tones. Humorous vignettes portray the dragons as a cross between playful pets and devious imps as they chase butterflies, tease a cat, break things and steal candy. Anderson's dense, otherworldly environment unfolds in detailed brushwork that creates a kind of painted cross-hatching effect and alternates bright, burnished colors with George's and the dragons' muted hues. Eventually, George builds a hulking, metal dragon out of pipes, pulleys and screws, and uses it to lead the "real dragons," pied-piper–style, back to the wilderness. The mood is again magical and even slightly sinister as the machine, with its curved metal talons, sharp wings and smoke-emitting nostrils, flies across a moonlit sky, the dark shadows of the real dragons in its wake. By story's end, George has restored the dragons to their dreamworld and attracted the notice of his parents. Children who like their tales elaborate and off-center will relish George's adventure. Ages 3-9. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/07/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
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FORMATS
Prebound-Sewn - 32 pages - 978-1-4177-0539-9
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-14-240364-8
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-84011-599-4
Paperback - 40 pages - 978-1-84011-990-9
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