cover image There's a Dragon about: A Winter's Revel

There's a Dragon about: A Winter's Revel

Richard Schotter. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-531-06858-8

Inspired by the winter revels of yore, when people traveled house to house to entertain their neighbors, Roni Schotter (Captain Snap and the Children of Vinegar Lane) and her English-professor husband stage a modern revel with a cast of energetic suburban children. Written in verse, the play that the children perform in their neighbors' living room echoes traditional themes of spring and rebirth. King Cole, Giant Blunderbore and other characters in homespun costume fight a dragon and are downed in the battle, but a spell resurrects them: ``Like winter's end when spring rains fall,/ Nature be freed and heed my call./ Bloom again, rise again, one and all!'' These literary tones are not sustained; for example, the dragon responds to the spell with ``Hey! What about me?/ I've been bad, no doubt./ But must I lie here lonely,/All left out?'' Alley's watercolors suggest the brio and gleeful abandon of the performers, though at the occasional expense of clarity. The Schotters' stated goal of inspiring the intended audience to go out and revel likewise, however, is unlikely to be achieved-many of the stunts shown here, such as one child standing atop the shoulders of another to act the role of the outsize dragon, are not easily (nor safely) simulated. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)