cover image Not Your Typical Dragon

Not Your Typical Dragon

Dan Bar-el, illus. by Tim Bowers. Viking, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-670-01402-6

A young dragon who doesn’t fit the mold still finds a way to save the day in this comically offbeat story about embracing individuality. Crispin Blaze can’t wait to set alight the candles on his seventh birthday cake at the exact moment he’s supposed to start breathing fire. When the moment of truth arrives, however, a torrent of whipped cream bursts from Crispin’s mouth, much to the delight of his younger sister. Crispin’s concerned parents take him to the doctor, but nothing helps, and Crispin runs away and finds a kindred spirit in a timid knight, who tries to coach the dragon. Readers will quickly realize that Crispin has a knack for breathing exactly what a situation calls for, whether it’s bandages at the doctor’s office, beach balls at the shore, or water when Crispin’s father’s fire-breathing gets out of control. Bowers’s (Dream Big, Little Pig!) colorful bug-eyed dragons and Middle-Ages-meets-the-suburbs setting amplify the humor in Bar-el’s (That One Spooky Night) prose, both of which make the message about embracing one’s talents go down easy. Ages 3–up. Illustrator’s agent: East West Literary Agency. (Feb.)