Friday, January 23, 2015

Illustration and text copyright 2015 by Douglas Florian
From Kirkus, a review of my latest book, How to Draw a Dragon, to be published April 14th by Beach Lane Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.

February 1, 2015

Florian's rhyming verse carries a group of children through drawing their own dragon, starting with the encouraging couplet, "Drawing dragons isn't hard. / Drag a dragon to your yard. "The front endpapers catalog dragon eyes, scales, teeth and so on, while the back endpapers display an entire dragon with parts labeled (forked tongue, sharp back toe, etc.). The children engaged in this artistic enterprise are brown-skinned and black-haired, pink-skinned and red-haired, and the dragons are just as varied, from versions that are pink with catlike faces to vaguely Chinese-style dragons in green and orange. The illustrations, while evoking children's own drawings and collages, are quite sophisticated in their use of texture, photo and fabric, as well as matte and transparent color. The final pages are a foldout of P.S. 117's "dragon art show," where all of the drawings are proudly displayed. The genders of the dragons are indicated by pronouns, so readers (and artists) are not stuck with a passel of only boy dragons. The rhyme flows smoothly with its whimsical advice: "Dragon fire has reds and yellows, / and it's good to toast marshmallows." This rhyming romp will no doubt spur multiple requests for rereading—and redrawing. (Picture book. 4-8)

I especially like that last line.