It’s My Birthday, Dear Dragon!

Norwood House. Jan. 2022. 24p. Tr $23.94. ISBN 9781684508129.
PreS-Gr 2–This title from the “Dear Dragon” series for emergent readers opens with a boy noticing things associated with his birthday. Cake, balloons, and a gift each get a spread, with short sentences on the left page and full color illustrations on the right. A trip to the pet store results in the birthday boy, who is white, getting a dragon as a pet. The rest of the story focuses on the dragon who can pull a wagon, create stars in a heart shape, and snuggle in bed with the boy. Although some of the conventional supports for beginning readers are in evidence—short sentences, repeated words, and matching illustrations—the result is banal. The thin plot jumps from realism to fantasy with no logic. The illustrations are reminiscent of 1950s “Dick and Jane” primers with little life to them. Consider as alternatives David A. Adler’s “Mo Jackson” stories, including Don’t Throw It to Mo!, or Corey Tabor’s “Fox” stories, including Fox at Night.
VERDICT Not recommended. Reach instead for titles that will engage young minds and invite multiple readings while adhering to emergent reader frameworks.

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