when a dragon moves in

When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore, illustrated by Howard McWilliam

One day at the beach, a little boy builds the perfect sandcastle and immediately a dragon moves right in.  Together the boy and dragon roast marshmallows, fly kites, float in the water, and defend the sandcastle against bullies who would knock it down.  The little boy tries to disguise that he is hosting a dragon in his castle, but then wants to tell his family about it.  He can’t get his mother’s attention, his father just tickles him, and his sister insists she knows better.  But trouble comes along with dragons too, and perhaps this one is more trouble than he’s worth.  Perhaps.

Moore uses the engaging second-person point of view, referring to the reader as “you.”  It draws you directly into the story and gives it a strong and inviting structure as well.  The story moves quickly from one moment to the next, which creates a vibrant feel to the story.  It’s a story that speaks to the power of imagination in creating a special time.

McWilliam’s art has a cinematic quality to it that children will immediately respond to.  He captures emotions on faces with comedic skill.  This is a refreshing style to have in a children’s book because it closely mimics what they see in films.  It’s a friendly and lovely thing to see.

A great beach read, this will have children scrambling to get their castles up and welcoming to dragons.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Flashlight Press.

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