Friday, February 11, 2022

Review: Here Be Dragons by Susannah Lloyd

I stumbled across today's read and was immediately taken in when I saw the first page. This is a read that is intended for the preschool/kindergarten audience, but it will also grab slightly older ones with its silliness and poking-fun. Let's just say it's original and not what I expected. And that is a very good thing.

Ready to go on a dragon hunt with me? 


HERE BE DRAGONS
by Susannah Lloyd
Illustrated by Paddy Donnelly
Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Picture Book
41 pages
ages 3 to 6


This book is about a knight on a mission: to find and slay a dragon. The other knights have told him that there's no such thing as dragons, but he doesn't care. For he has a map, and the map says: 

"HERE BE DRAGONS."

He travels right to the spot marked ‘X’, past treasure, suspicious bones and many signs telling him to turn back. He wanders up and down a huge, spiky hill (the dragon's back) shouts into a burrow (the dragon's nose) and eventually walks into a cave (the dragon's mouth)… Will the hapless knight see the dragon before it's too late?! 

Young readers will love spotting the dragon in the background in this laugh-out-loud story from the author of This Book Can Read Your Mind.



GOODREADS   /   AMAZON  /   BOOK DEPOSITORY


MY TIDBITS

Hunting an extremely fierce dragon gains hilarious fun with pokes and silliness at a knight, who, maybe, is in over his head.

This knight is going to prove the other knights wrong and find a true dragon (they say one doesn't exist). With his steed, he follows the usual clues to find a dragon. Somehow, he misses every single one...and much more. Even when the deadly beast is right in front of him, he can't seem to see it and may be gobbled right up.

If you're looking for soft and fuzzy and cushioned emotions, this book is not it. The dragon is dangerous. Very. And despite this horrifying creature, it still manages to steer clear of becoming scary...even for sensitive readers. Much of that is thanks to the pokes and prods of humor. The saying 'can't see the forest for the trees' sets this tale into overdrive and creates one hilarious scene after the other. Even when the dragon portrays his true terror, the entire thing takes a subtle and unexpected twist, leaving the silliness still in the spotlight.

The illustrations make this read. The text allows the knight's personality to shine as well as his thoughts. The writing is well done, throwing in a bit of 'knightly' language and, actually, steering toward audiences on the older end of the age range (4 to 6). The illustrations show the reality around the knight, and this is what will have listeners laughing at every page, and sometimes, just raising an eyebrow. The details are fun with lots to discover. Listeners coming back to explore on their own.

There are one or two messages cuddled up between the silliness. The first one follows the saying I mentioned above. There's a second one about the damsel in distress...but I'm not going to ruin any spoilers on that front.

This is a read which catches attention, holds it, and will have listeners coming back for more. It's original, draws more than a few laughs, and leaves with the lasting 'huh'. So, yep, I'm recommending it.

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