Lovabye Dragon by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Randy Cecil
Once there was a girl who lived in a castle and longed to be friends with a dragon. There was a dragon who lived far off in a cave who wanted a girl for a friend. The girl was so sad that she wept silver tears of loneliness. Those tears trickled all the way out of the castle and to the cave of the dragon where they awoke him. The dragon followed the trail of silver back to the castle where he found the girl waiting for him. The two became immediate friends, spending all of their time together. Best friends forever.
Remarkably, Joosse does not feel the need to make the friendship between the girl and the dragon scandalous or attack it in any way. The two of them long for one another, find one another, meet and are immediately friends, and it works. A large part of why it works is Joosse’s writing which has them doing many things together but also explains their friendship clearly in passages like this:
On the outside, Girl is little.
On the outside, Dragon’s biggle.
But they’re just the same size
exactly the same size
in the middle.
Cecil’s illustrations are done in oils and have a wonderful richness and depth to them. The palette is more blues and greys than many primary-colored picture books. It plays to the sophistication of this story. Often the girl is the only spot of bright color in her yellow dress.
This solid picture book offers a shimmering story of unlikely friendship that really works. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from library copy.