cover image Lovabye Dragon

Lovabye Dragon

Barbara Joosse, illus. by Randy Cecil. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5408-5

Is Joosse (Old Robert and the Sea-Silly Cats) paying homage to a classic mid- century children’s author, or just channeling her? Either way, this beautifully bubbly poem sounds a lot like Margaret Wise Brown at her best. “Once there was a girl,” it starts, “an all-alone girl/ in her own little bed/ in her own little room/ in her own little castle/ who didn’t have a dragon for a friend.” The princess doesn’t fear dragons; she’s pining for one, weeping decorous tears that flow “past a boat in the moat/ past a frog in the bog” and finally to the dragon, who shows up at her door like a faithful dog, ready to adore her. There are moments of saucy wordplay (“On the outside, Girl is little./ On the outside, Dragon’s biggle”) and reassuring images of steadfast love (“and he wraps his tail around her/ so gently, all around her”). Cecil’s (Horsefly and Honeybee) stylized, angular figures stand in visual contrast to Joosse’s rounded prose-poetry, but the palette of muted grays and blues is just right for this lullaby of a book. Ages 3–6. (Sept.)