Title: Dear Dragon
Author: Josh Funk
Illustrator: Rodolfo Montalvo
Published By: Viking Books, 2016
I’ve got a confession to make: I’m a big fan of rhyming books. There, I said it. I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love them. (Side note: also a big fan of rap. And what are rhyming books, if not the rap of kid lit?)
When my kids were little, Sandra Boynton was my go-to. Anything she’s written is brilliant, but I especially love Perfect Piggies and Hippos Go Berserk. Why? Her rhymes are amazing. They’re tight. They’re catchy. They never, ever leave your head…even five years after last reading one of her books.
Who else can throw down rhymes? Andrea Beaty. She’s the author of Rosie Revere, Engineer, Iggy Peck, Architect and various other rhyming stories. I love the rhyme schemes she uses and the clever word pairings she creates. She could teach a master class in rhyming picture books.
But today’s review isn’t about Andrea Beaty or Sandra Boynton. No, it’s about Josh Funk’s book, Dear Dragon. I took this book out from the library on a whim, after doing some research about ‘funny picture books’ (very long entry coming in the future on that topic). And, great news, I wasn’t disappointed.
The general idea is that a little boy, George, has a school-assigned pen pal (we’ve all been there) and, unbeknownst to him, it’s a dragon! (A cute little dragon-kid, but a dragon nonetheless). Throughout the year, George and Blaise (the dragon) write to each other, sharing facts about their lives and things they’re interested in. At the end of the school year, they meet at a picnic and…shocker! They realize that they’re not exactly as they’d envisioned each other to be!
But, of course, who cares if one is a dragon and one is a kid? No matter. They’re still friends and that’s honestly all that matters.
The art is perfectly suited to the story. It’s cute and whimsical and friendly. A+ for the art.
This would be a terrific book to use at the beginning of the school year to promote inclusivity among classmates, or sometime during the year to remind kids about being kind to each other. Overall, this is a sweet, funny story that I highly recommend.