cover image Dragon Meets Boy

Dragon Meets Boy

Michael Slack. Holt/Ottaviano, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62779-271-4

A boy receives a plush purple dragon for his birthday, and the two become inseparable. Digital vignettes by Slack (Sharing Does Not Compute), rendered in warm, muted tones and soft, mottled textures, show the dragon supporting the child in tough moments (the first day of school) and joining with him in vivid pretend play: they “scaled tall mountains” (the playground climbing hill) and “battled the forces of evil” (a schoolyard bully). The boy grows up and goes away to college, while “Dragon stayed the same size”; one day, the dragon is put in a dark box to “guard” the boy’s other prized belongings while he goes on “his most important adventure. “Does Boy miss me?” the dragon wonders as the years pass. Some readers may find the creature’s loneliness hard to take, especially when it falls into a “deep dragon sleep.” But Slack’s calm, measured storytelling doesn’t overplay the pathos, and the relief when the box is finally opened, to reveal that the dragon will now belong to Boy’s daughter, should resonate. Ages 3–6. (June)