Saturday, December 5, 2015

Dragons and Babies– a New Book Review

Don't you just love hearing about new books? I sure do. Today I share When a Dragon Moves In Again.  It's written by Jodi Moore and illustrated by Howard McWilliam. The folks at Flashlight Press gave me a reviewer's copy so I could spread the news, which I happily do!

This story is about a little boy whose imaginary dragon comes to stay with him right around the time the family is prepping for the arrival of a new baby. Our little protagonist has a slew of mixed emotions about becoming a big brother and it's very convenient to blame the dragon for some of his less-than-brotherly behaviors.

Things take a turn for the worse when the dragon, his dragon, takes up residence in the baby's crib! Did the dragon really switch sides? How can this come out okay in the end?

I loved the vivid illustrations that capture the full gamut of emotions in the book. McWilliam adds incredible detail in whimsical ways. I enjoyed every page, even the endpapers that let the story begin right in the front cover and go all the way to the back. The "oh, fancy endpapers!" were a big hit with the kidpeople, too. (I am kind of an endpaper nut, so my guys always check out the endpapers of books.) In the front of the book the endpapers show a scrapbook of the family before the baby is born, and then the scrapbook includes the baby at the back. Here's a peek.

You also see the dragon in previous shots at the front because this is not the first book in which our hero and his dragon appear, hence the title, When a Dragon Moves in AGAIN.  We first meet the boy and dragon in When a Dragon Moves In, which you should also take a peek at. It really is fun having an imaginary dragon friend.

Some of you might recognize McWilliam's illustration style from another book he illustrated and I reviewed last year– I Need My Monster. You can read my review of that book, which I LOVED, by clicking on the book cover below.

Another reason for adding this book to your collection is that it focuses on a topic very pertinent to the kindergarten classroom– the arrival of newborn siblings. Moore handles the complex and conflicting feelings that big brothers and sisters have about new babies in very true ways which all my kiddos could connect with, even those who don't have younger sibs.

I had been saving this book because a little guy in my class was expecting a new baby brother at Thanksgiving time. When my student got back from break and shared his news, I was ready. We read the book which lead us into a great discussion of how babies act and what they need in their habitat– we are all about habitats now that we just wrapped up our animal unit.

I then put a twist on the book's theme with my illustrator husband's help. I had Jonathan draw a baby dragon which I then copied in small size. All my kiddos drew a suitable habitat for their new baby, then added their cut out and colored baby dragon to the scene. They got to use glitter glue on the wings and a small piece of felt for a baby blanket. The kids just loved their babies. I also gave a writing prompt– What do you think is the best and worst part of having a new baby in the house? Their answers were great– with poopy diapers and kissing cheeks coming out the tops in each category. (I'm sorry I don't have photos of their work– my role as lead teacher pulled my out of the room several times this week and I missed my opportunity.)

I give When a Dragon Moves In Again five stars. I think you and your kids will enjoy it whether you have new babies arriving within your families or not.  And if you'd like the baby dragon to use as an extension, just click on him below for a downloadable freebie. To use him in different sizes you can print at a reduced size, or print him out in multiples per page so he comes out a smaller size.

One more thing to mention– Flashlight Press has a wonderful collection of children's picture books. You know how you just sort of resonate with some publisher's choices? Well, it's like that for me with Flashlight Press. I have purchased several of their books, and reviewed Maddi's Fridge, in addition to I Need My Monster. Not only are the books wonderful to look at, but their stories catch your attention and bring you in, and the content is also very in-line with what primary grade teachers want to teach and discuss with kids. Maddi's Fridge is one of those special kind of books that deals with real life problems in non-preachy ways. You can read my review by clicking.

Take a look at the rest of the Flashlight Press collection by clicking on their image here.

Thanks for stopping by. See you next time!

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