By: Dianne de las Casas
Illustrated by: Marita Gentry
Publisher: Pelican Publishing
Publication Date: January 2011
Reviewed By: Amy Lignor
Review Date: January 29, 2011
This fantastic and creative book will make all readers who absolutely worship their town library feel like they've stepped back into the past to a time when everything was possible.
As readers enjoy this tale with their children, they'll remember walking past those boring, icky adult books guarded by a stern faced librarian, into a world of pure excitement. The Children's Reading Room was always lit up like a theatrical stage; the rays of sunshine bursting through the huge glass windows lighting up row after row of classic titles that shaped our vision. The brightly lit room looked as if the gods of imagination were all smiling down on us, encouraging our minds to believe in the unbelievable.
The huge, towering bookshelves that circled us held the keys to kingdoms that boys wanted to conquer and girls wanted to become princess of; and, the Cat in the Hat doll sat atop an old, polished cabinet welcoming us as we walked in and sat down to listen to that fantastic librarian read the next exciting tale.
In this wonderful story a young man named Max is looking through the books when he finds a speckled egg amongst the titles. Taking it carefully in his hands, Max begins to shake it, trying desperately to figure out what it is and where it came from. Soon the egg breaks and out comes a young speckled dragon who wants nothing more than to feed his enormous appetite.
Max races to Mom and tells her that there's a dragon in the kids' room devouring the books and making a mess. Mom smiles, says 'Shhh,' and tells Max that no such thing exists...but he has a heck of an imagination.
When Max goes back to the library, he tries to once again tell the librarian, his father - even a police officer who guards the town - that the dragon is getting larger and larger and may just consume every book that the library has to offer.
Watching Max try with all his might to convince the adults that he's telling the truth will remind readers about the wonderful Polar Express, and how hard it was to make adults listen to something they just didn't believe in anymore.
On a personal note...Once Upon a Time there was a woman named Mrs. Judy Carroll in a small town in wintry Connecticut who had the kindest smile and the complete understanding of the magic of books. She made children rush to the library every Saturday to listen to her voice tell a truly fantastic story. Her kind eyes were full of dreams and imagination and, without her, I can honestly say that I would never have found my way down the yellow brick road, or followed my dream of becoming a writer. This is truly a book that is an ode to fantastic people such as Mrs. Carroll, and all librarians, who devoted their lives to allowing kids to reach for the stars.
Quill says: A fantastic tale full of fun and spirit that will soon join the ranks of Harold and the Purple Crayon - a book truly worthy of classic status for generations to come.