A Poor Excuse for a Dragon

Geoffrey Hayes. Random, $12.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-375-87180-1
This jolly Step into Reading title stars a less-than ferocious dragon who leaves home with a to-do list and a directive from his father: "Make us proud of you." Fred's instructions seem simple enough—run amok, eat people, roar, breathe fire, act scary—but prove difficult to pull off. He gets dizzy when he tries to run amok, the castle cook tells him his roar "sounds like a meow," and the princess announces that the fire he breathes "looks like a birthday candle." But Fred is good at eating people, and with a smug "I'll show you," he swallows the cook, princess, and a singing bird whole, which makes his stomach ache. With the help of a witch, a giant, and a shepherd boy, Fred's victims are freed, and he happily takes up residence in the castle moat. Punchy dialogue (castle cook Mrs. Green is, in particular, a spitfire) and compact sentences should make this a read-aloud delight, while Hayes's (the Benny and Penny books) cartoons, in which these classic fairy tale characters resemble toys, add significant fun of their own. Ages 7–9. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/27/2011
Release date: 08/01/2011
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 47 pages - 978-0-375-86867-2
Library Binding - 48 pages - 978-0-375-96867-9
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-0-375-89938-6
Prebound-Sewn - 48 pages - 978-0-606-23419-1
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