“Dinosaurs Love Underpants”
By Claire Freedman
Illustrated by Ben Cort
For ages 4–8
What happened to the dinosaurs? It wasn’t a meteor impact. It wasn’t global climate change. Believe it or not, underpants were the downfall of dinosaurs.
When cavemen decided they no longer wanted to be naked, one of them created underpants. The cavemen were happy, but the dinosaurs wanted all the underpants for themselves. Before long the dinosaurs stole, bit, ripped and tore until it was an all out underwear war.
Although the verse seems a little forced, the scenario is funny and the illustrations do well to highlight the hilarity. Young readers will have giggle fits, especially young boys.
“When a Dragon Moves In”
By Jodi Moore
Illustrated by Howard McWilliam
For ages 5–9
What happens when you build a perfect sandcastle? A dragon moves in, of course.
Jodi Moore explores youthful play and the imagination of childhood with the tale of a little boy at the beach. The boy builds the perfect sandcastle and a fiery red dragon moves in right away. Together they romp through the day, flying kites, digging moats and roasting marshmallows. When the dragon eats all the sandwiches and puts fingerprints on the brownies his bad manners take a toll on the day’s events and the little boy’s fun.
Once he gets into trouble the little boy vows to never build the perfect sandcastle again. Do you think that promise will last? I don’t either. Although kids will relate to the boy and his adventures, parents may have a bigger emotional connection to this endearing tale than their children.
“A Gold Star for Zog”
By Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
For ages 4–8
When students excel in their studies Madam Dragon gives them a gold star. Zog wants a gold star more than anything. So when this young dragon begins to study flight, roaring and breathing fire, he gives it everything he has. But it never goes quite right. That is when a mysterious girl always seems to show up and take care of poor Zog. It’s not until his class for princess capturing comes around that Zog finally gets his gold star. He finds the mysterious little girl and she accompanies him back to see Madam Dragon. Hurray! Zog gets his gold star.
It’s at this point that the story seems to fall apart. A brave knight comes to rescue the princess but he really wants to be a doctor. Really? The idea for this tale is that if you are true to yourself and try hard, you will be successful. It’s a good message for all children but it may get lost in the silliness. ?
McGeath Freeman is a regular columnist for Lowcountry Parent. Address comments, questions or book suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. To see past reviews and more on children’s literature visit McGeath Freeman at www.chapteronereviews.blogspot.com.