A stubborn little dragon with a favourite book -- and a fiery temper!
Emily Gravett is twice winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Nestle Children's Book Prize Bronze Award for Wolves and Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears. An author/illustrator of unique talent and tremendous skill, she has a host of other award-winning and critically acclaimed books to her name, including Orange Pear Apple Bear, Monkey and Me, The Odd Egg and Blue Chameleon. Emily lives in Brighton with her partner, daughter and the family dogs.
PreS-Gr 3-Gravett's latest experiment with metafiction imagines the possible trajectory of a child's appeal to hear a bedtime story ad infinitum. Here, the characters are dragons. The mother begins energetically: "Cedric the dragon's a bright angry red./He's never,/His whole life,/(Not once) been to bed." This nocturnal picture-book beast terrorizes princesses and trolls. In the second reading, a sleepy mom takes a more judgmental tone, and the hero is hospitable. By the fourth version, she and the storybook characters are snoring; "z's" fall from the printed page. Meanwhile, the listening Cedric has undergone a color and personality transformation. White and placid on the endpapers and green during the beginning (in contrast to his angry, red textual counterpart), he and his doppleganger gradually reverse colors. While the titular refrain appears throughout (including on two subtly different title pages), the repeated word is part of a full-blown temper tantrum at the conclusion. The book is shaken and turned upside down, causing the composition to tumble to the edge. Steaming mad, the protagonist burns a hole in the page (and the back cover) through which the characters escape. Gravett differentiates the story lines of her oil-based pencil and watercolor compositions by using a brighter palette and more detailed features against the white background of her main narrative and deeper shades and parchment-colored pages in the book Cedric loves. Youngsters will delight in deciphering the visual narrative in their own multiple readings and will relate to the range of emotions displayed by their scaly stand-in.-Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.