Puff the Magic Dragon

Peter Yarrow, Author, Lenny Lipton, Author, Eric Puybaret, Illustrator , illus. by Eric Puybaret. Sterling $16.95 (24p) ISBN 978-1-4027-4782-3

This handsome volume offers a charming interpretation of the 1960s folk song, written by Yarrow and Lipton and famously recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary. Featuring a soothing palette highlighted by greens and blues, Puybaret's graceful acrylic on linen paintings are intermittently misty and sunny. Echoing the gentle cadence of the song, the sweeping landscapes and seascapes reveal Honalee to be a magical place indeed, with faces appearing on trees, flowers and rocks. Other whimsical flourishes include the book's affable ancillary characters, including diminutive winged fairies and red-and-white striped dolphin-like critters that wear graduation caps. There is, of course, the inevitable somber moment when “One gray night it happened, Jackie Paper came no more,/ And Puff, that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar”; the dragon gazes wistfully upon the departing boy and then slips sadly into his cave. But at the creative hand of Puybaret, a French illustrator who here makes his American publishing debut, the song's potentially sad denouement takes an uplifting turn. As the chorus is repeated one final time, the delighted Puff spies a girl approaching—ostensibly Jackie's daughter—a new friend to frolic with in the autumn mist. Youngsters concerned about the fate of Puff's first playmate will be comforted to see a smiling, grown-up Jackie looking on. Adding to the appeal of the book is a CD presenting a new recording of the song (and two others), sung by Yarrow and his daughter Bethany, accompanied by cellist Rufus Cappadocia. An impressive performance all around. Ages 3-7. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/11/2007
Release date: 08/01/2007
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 25 pages - 978-0-230-70064-2
Paperback - 25 pages - 978-0-230-70381-0
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-4027-7216-0
Board Books - 24 pages - 978-1-4549-0114-3
Paperback - 25 pages - 978-1-4472-2358-0
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