cover image Dragon’s Extraordinary Egg

Dragon’s Extraordinary Egg

Debi Gliori. Bloomsbury, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-80273-759-5

A penguin named Bib asks his mother for a bedtime story, and as she complies, it becomes clear that the story is actually a family history about unlikely but enduring love. Bib’s mother, it turns out, was raised by a childless dragon who gave her adopted offspring “love and time, the greatest gifts of all,” to develop courage and resilience. The rest of the young dragons, however, were pretty much raised to be louts who show themselves to be bullies. There’s a lot of enjoyment to be derived from the contrast of the preening, aerodynamic dragons with the good-hearted groundedness of the penguins. Unfortunately, Gliori’s (What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?) tendency to wear her editorial heart on her sleeve results in big emotional moments that feel like unnecessary intrusions—the idea that “Sometimes things happen for a reason,” is a running theme, and Bib’s mother reminds him that “Feathers keep us warm, but they can’t keep cold words out.” All is forgiven, however, when Grandma Dragon makes a cameo appearance in the book’s final spread. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)