From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1—The loving Mom and baby from Ashburn and Murphy's Hush, Little Dragon
(Abrams, 2008) reenact a variation of another familiar folk song. Well-rhymed quatrains guide readers through a medieval landscape populated with ever-increasing numbers of inhabitants (from one little dragon and two gruff guards all the way up to ten frisky jesters). Suspense builds on each earth-toned page, as mother dragon advises "patience" while child eagerly anticipates the book's culminating surprise: fireworks ignited by the "whoosh" of the dragons' breath. Simple but richly textured oil and acrylic illustrations contain amusing details for observant eyes (the little dragon can be caught peeking inside the castle walls, and an "old wily prisoner" and his "pet rats five" can be spied planning and executing escape from the dungeon). A playful and comforting addition to storytimes.—Amy Rowland, Shelter Rock Elementary School, Manhasset, NY
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The familiar rhythm of the folk song Over in the Meadow finds a new setting as over at the castle, on the hill in the sun, an old mother dragon tries to teach her little dragon patience as they laze about near a castle. Counting is integrated into the tale as two guards watch the gate, three little lords romp about inside, and so on, all the way up to 10 jesters, who juggle to entertain a group of soldiers. Richly textured paintings in subtle hues that fit the medieval period convey the chores of the occupants of the castle, and comedic touches throughout (a mouse sits in the window munching purloined produce as six chefs busily sauté and flambé; the impatient dragon peers in the window while eight guests celebrate) deepen the story and will have children flipping back through the pages. At the tale’s end, the little dragon finally gets to fly and breath fire, and the people of the castle enjoy the fireworks display. Asking what the little dragon is waiting for all this time can be a nice guessing game for storytime. Preschool-Grade 1. --Patricia Austin