cover image Dragons Love

Dragons Love

Stephen Parlato, . . Simply Read, $16.95 (44pp) ISBN 978-1-897476-18-5

Dramatic and surreal, Parlato's (The World That Loved Books ) dragon collages, made up of repeated and sometimes distorted images, take center stage in this work. “Dragons love flowers, their colors and perfumes,” he writes, as the corresponding spread shows a dragon composed of flaming parrot tulips and sunset-colored birds of paradise. Succeeding spreads show more dragons, their claws, snouts, wings and tails made up of rainbow hues of beetles, seashells, leaves, mushrooms—even flags of the world. The creatures recall Fabergé eggs, gilded, bejeweled and adorned with calligraphic swirls and coils. The rambling free verse is a collage, too, in which medieval-sounding expressions (“Dragons love mushrooms.... They know to choose carefully the ones they eat... lest poison be their fate”) rub shoulders with modern colloquialisms (“then [they] boogie on back to their caves”), not always to pleasing effect. There's an inspirational quality to Parlato's text (“And what Dragons love most of all on this Earth... are children like You, who still believe in dragons and great deeds in great need of doing”), but it largely feels incidental to the baroque richness of Parlato's artwork. Ages 5–up. (Oct.)