cover image Roar and Sparkles Go to School

Roar and Sparkles Go to School

Sarah Beth Durst, illus. by Ben Whitehouse. Running Press Kids, $16.99 (40p) IS

A small yellow dragon named Roar tries to shake his first-day-of-school jitters in this encouraging story, Durst’s (The Girl Who Could Not Dream) first picture book. Luckily, Roar has an older sister, Sparkles, who provides encouragement at every turn—the story charts a standard path as Roar’s worries turn out to be unfounded and he enjoys himself at school, playing games, making a new friend, and finding a way to thank his sister. In appealing illustrations that have a bright, crayony roughness, Whitehouse (the Rider Woofson series) has fun bringing Durst’s world to life, from a school bus that’s itself a giant dragon (“[Sparkles] held his hand through the loop-de-loops”) to Roar’s school-day activities (“In gym, they played hide-and-seek-the-princess”). Indeed, the lively details of Roar’s daily life might be just enough to let readers temporarily forget about their own back-to-school nervousness. Ages 3–6. Agent: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger. Illustrator’s agency: Bright Agency. (June)