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New York Times

Lovabye Dragon by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Randy Cecil.  32 pp. Candlewick Press. $15.99. (Picture book; ages 3 to 6)

"Loneliness in the night is also the subject of the dreamy “Lovabye Dragon,” one of a welcome wave of books that let girls play with beasts that once kept company solely with boys. But why shouldn’t girls appreciate fire-breathing dragons too, especially if they allow themselves to be ridden into the night sky? What’s not to like? The state of affairs in this story is understandably plaintive, as laid out on the very first page: “Once there was a girl / an all-alone girl / in her own little bed / in her own little room / in her own little castle / who didn’t have a dragon for a friend.”
Barbara Joosse’s story then switches to the lair of an all-alone dragon, and we go back-and-forth between their stories as the girl’s silver tears of heartache and longing wend their way to the dragon, and then back again to her castle chamber where the two fated friends finally meet.
“I am here!” roared Dragon.
“You’re a dear!” whispered Girl.
“I found you!” roared Dragon.
“As I wished,” whispered Girl.
The book is bathed like a romance in moody lavenders and deep grayish blues, and its bug-eyed dragon is more adorable than fearsome. Randy Cecil ("Horsefly and Honeybee") knows how to make even scaly creatures look winsome, and if his oddly coiffed princess is a bit on the homely side, well, that's kind of a nice change of pace too.
"----New York Times 10-31-2012

Horn Book

Lovabye Dragon by Barbara Joosse; illus. by Randy Cecil
Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.
978-0-7636-5408-5    $15.99

"A lonely young princess (well, she’s called a girl, but the family portraits in her castle show crowns) yearns for a friend—a dragon friend. Fortunately, in a cave under a mountain, a real dragon is dreaming of a girl for a friend. Once the “all-alone” girl’s lonely tears make their rhyming way from her castle to his cave (“past a boat in the moat / past a frog in the bog”), the dragon follows them back (reversing the rhyming sequence); happily, the fact that he’s much the louder and larger of the two in no way inhibits their joyful play together. Readers needn’t notice that the dragon represents the power of imagination, nor that he embodies the possibility of befriending someone different; those thoughts are nicely embedded in the story, and Joosse’s buoyant verse keeps the mood light. Cecil’s jaunty, toylike characters are amusingly angular; his dreamy nighttime palette of gray-blue and -green oils suits the lullaby mood of a bedtime charmer."-----
Horn Book 9/12


Wall Street Journal

"Barbara Joosse's "Lovabye Dragon" (Candlewick, 32 pages, $15.99) has a more subdued feel, with softly musical verse and Randy Cecil's soft, grayish illustrations. The dragon here, too, is less a monster than a big cuddly pal. A yearning princess weeps "many, many tears / so wishing for a dragon / so lonely for a dragon / and they trickled down the stairs" and out the castle door. The rivulet travels into the cave of an equally lonely "snore-asleep" dragon. Woken by a splash of tears, the reptile follows the trickle back to its origin. Great joy ensues." -----Wall Street Journal Oct 12,2012


 

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