Friday, March 4, 2011

Oscar and the Very Hungry Dragon

Kirkus Review starred (August 1, 2010)
A terrifying beast meets its match in a resourceful boy. When the earth trembles, the villagers at the bottom of the hill know it's time to send the dragon a princess to eat. One day, unfortunately, no princess is available; a child is the next best thing. Village elder Mr. Ballymore holds a lottery and young Oscar (in short pants and backwards baseball cap) is selected. Oscar convinces the dragon, who hasn't eaten in nearly a year, that he needs to be fattened up and turns his birdcage prison cell into a master kitchen. He teases the dragon with tantalizing smells while putting off the day of his eating with additional requests for savory ingredients, all designed to fatten him up, and the old Hansel-and-Gretel trick (he's a well-read boy, too). In the end, the dragon proves that, though he's indeed very hungry, he's also very nice. Packed with wit that never descends into camp and illustrated with verve and style in ink-and-watercolor cartoons, Krause's substantial, self-translated fractured fairy tale delights on every level. (Picture book. 5-8)

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