cover image Liza Jane & the Dragon

Liza Jane & the Dragon

Laura Lippman, illus. by Kate Samworth. Black Sheep, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-61775-661-0

In crime writer Lippman’s picture book debut, Liza Jane’s parents tell her every day that she’s a lucky girl. She does have a bed with a canopy, a fish, stars on her bedroom ceiling, and six princess dresses in her dress-up box. Even with plenty to be thankful for, though, Liza Jane is dissatisfied. Tired of being ignored and interrupted by her parents, she fires them and puts up an ad, then hires a green-scaled, yellow-haired dragon who applies for the job. After growing tired of eating pizza every day (the dragon can’t cook), having tangled hair (the dragon’s claws make it impossible to hold a brush), and always arriving late for school (dragons can’t tell time), Liza Jane realizes that a dragon—especially one who reacts to all adversity with fiery flames and a frequent, unapologetic refrain of “Hey, I’m a dragon”—isn’t a satisfying replacement for her parents. Unfortunately, the tone feels a tad prescriptive for a tale with no real message. Illustrations by Samworth (Aviary Wonders) feature an amusingly expressive dragon and colorful protagonist against intentionally drab background scenes. Ages 5–8. [em]Author’s agent: Vicy Bijur Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Marietta B. Zacker, Gallt and Zacker Literary. (Oct.) [/em]