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Nickerbacher Paperback – December 7, 2016
The Amazon Book Review
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Each chapter is a well-defined step in Nickerbacher's journey, and each character is a nod to the fantasy lexicon. In La La Land the dragon finds a leprechaun acting coach, Santa and his elves attend Nickerbacher's big show, and the rising Miss Phoenix materializes from the ashes to serve as the Late Knight Show receptionist.
The story and its classical literary and cultural references are woven together harmoniously. Nickerbacher takes a selfie in La La Land and fits his feet into the cement prints of movie stars. He struggles with respectfully defying his parents. His story is so relatable and endearing that it's easy to forget that the dragon is supposed to be so different from everyone else. Therein lies the novel's great success.
Young children will delight in the imaginative story and delightful illustrations, and they will identify with Nickerbacher's longing to do something that may seem different to others. This is a good chapter book for 3rd-5th graders but younger children will enjoy having it read aloud to them. Nickerbacher by Terry John Barto is a delightful tale, sparkling with an imaginative world where dragons and princesses overcome real-world challenges. Wonderful book! ~JB McPhearson for Readers' Favorite
While Barto's timing of dialogues is perfect enough to evoke laughter, he cleverly upturns many conventional fairy tale themes in the story. These include a nervous prince, a feisty princess (who wears pajamas), a wise phoenix, and a Sphinx with a street stall. His decisions to stand up to his overbearing father and to promote a bias-free world make Nickerbacher an endearing symbol of inspiration and optimism for all children and adults who want to overcome fears and live their dreams. A light-hearted, visually delicious tale that promises a bear hug every time it's read. ~RECOMMENDED by the US Review
Chapter books allow for more narrative detail than picture books, and Barto embraces the opportunity with the same vigor and humor Nickerbacher demonstrates at every turn. Readers are offered more tantalizing details about the magical inhabitants of La La Land (including a phoenix secretary and a leprechaun comedy coach) and spend more time with the dragon, his feisty princess, and their "Fancypants" prince. The lively black-and-white illustrations are the perfect companion to Barto's smart, wacky humor.
Barto's chapter book is a rollicking celebration of hope that will excite readers with its rich, magical vocabulary, inventive storyline, and--of course--the laugh-out-loud antics of a silly, starry-eyed dragon. ~BlueInk Reviews
The story is light-hearted and funny throughout, and there are lots of black and white drawings to accompany the story. These drawings are reminiscent of a comic book style of drawing that adds a whole new level of fun to the story. Nickerbacher is simply a wonderful story for young readers. ~Feathered Quill Book Reviews
From the Author
Nickerbacher is the expanded, early chapter edition inspired by the Award Winning Picture Book, Nickerbacher, The Funniest Dragon. This time, Princess Gwendolyn is an activist for dragon rights and completely involved in Nickerbacher success. Along the way, she recruits Prince Happenstance and a Lucky Leprechaun to help. After a few twists and over coming obstacles, Nickerbacher makes it on The Late Knight Show staring Johnny Kingston.
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Top Customer Reviews
Nickerbacher, written by Terry John Barto, is a fun-loving children’s novel based on the story of a dragon and his friends. Nickerbacher dreams of being something more than a dragon protector of princesses and sets his sights on becoming a comedian. There is an underlying message that children will love as it promotes following your dreams even if other people may not believe that you can achieve them.
Throughout the story, the fantasy characters participate in modern-day activities, like taking selfies with mystical beings or trying to fit their feet into the prints of famous celebrities. This provides a modern twist to a classically styled fairy tale that combine beautifully in this incredible city. My favorite character is Miss Phoenix, a receptionist who rises from the ashes to greet the unlikely trio. She is dedicated to her work but has a heart of gold which sings true to the end.
Pictures are included throughout the novel which brings to life the extraordinary fun loving characters. My favorite image is one that includes ghosts and goblins at the Fairywood Forever Cemetery, royal chariots at LAX and the Medieval Tar Pits. The images are a mix of castles with high rise style buildings that replicate a similar style of what I would imagine LA would look like if it had been sprinkled with a touch of fairy dust. I love how the imagery complements the text and helps with engaging the reader in expanding their imagination.
This story will help children to learn the importance of friendship and believing in yourself. Nickerbacher also touches on issues such as family, societal expectations and breaking through the barriers of life in a fun and engaging story line. Children will relate to parts of the story and see parts of themselves in each of the magical beings. I love the relationship between Princess Gwendolyn and Nickerbacher and how they break the stereotypes of the typical dragon and Princess friendship.
I would recommend Nickerbacher to any school-aged children who wants to be lost in the magic of La La Land. This book would be perfect as a bedtime story to be read aloud as Terry John’s Barto’s wonderful way with words will delight all children and adults alike.
In Short: This is a great book for kids that is both entertaining and full of positive messages. It teaches the value of friendship, and using hard work to accomplish your dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem. It also battles discrimination and negative stereotypes. The heroes have to overcome many obstacles and others telling them that "dragons can't be comedians" before they can reach their goal and get Nickerbacher on stage at The Late Knight Show.
Pros: This book appeals to both adults and children with modern cultural references woven into a fairy tale featuring a Dragon and a Princess. Adults will catch a lot of the parodies and satires hidden in the story that may go over kids heads but there is plenty of humor for the kids too. The story is easy to follow and fun. There is even a surprising amount of character development. Prince Happenstance really comes around and changes his outlook by the middle of the book, becoming a great ally to his former enemy. I loved the part where Nickerbacher had his first audition with Johnny Kingston. During this audition he wasn't at all funny, but his friends managed to convince Johnny to give him another chance and instead of being upset about how it went Nickerbacher gets a coach to help him improve his act for next time. In the end he proved anyone can be anything they want.
Cons: I do like the art, but something about the size and rough edges of the black and white drawings could make it a little hard for children see clearly. I wish Nickerbacher's final show had been longer, maybe 1 or 2 more jokes. For me, it just warmed up and then was over.
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