cover image Valentine for a Dragon

Valentine for a Dragon

Shirley Rousseau Murphy. Marcel Dekker, $3.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-689-71049-0

Dagliesh and Sewell received praise for the clarity and immediacy of their pic ture book, a hit of the season in 1954. Today's children, beginners and ad vanced readers, will value the story about one family's first Thanksgiving in the Plymouth Colony, strikingly pres ent in stylized, naive pictures like col ored etchings. Giles, Constance and Damaris Hopkins are aboard the May flower, overcrowded when the Speed well turns back to England. On the jour ney, the children's baby brother is born and named Oceanus; he will be one of the smallest in the company of settlers who endure the terrible first year in the New World and gather to celebrate the harvest the next November. The story ends with the great feast to which the colonists invited the Indian chief Mas sasoit, Squanto and their people who had helped the strangers survive hun ger, cold and sickness. (58) VALENTINE FOR A DRAGON Shirley Rousseau Murphy, pictures by Kay Chorao. Atheneum/Aladdin, $3.95 ISBN 0-689-71049-6 . Reprint Murphy's offbeat love story, tender and droll, is enhanced by wonderful drawings to which Chorao adds a dash of red at strategic spots: dragon's breath, fire, hearts. In a medieval village, the people complain about the loud dragon and her fiery soot. They snub the demon, too; he's not ""real folk.'' The demon loves the dragon, though, and wishes he weren't too bashful to ask her to love him in return. Hoping she would get the message in a valentine, the little fellow makes many discouraging mistakes but finally wins his lady's heart. Furthermore, they gain the friendship of the villagers by lending a hand in time of trouble. The humans fete demon and dragon at a party and afterward, ``they let each creature live as it chose.'' (48)