Written by Kallie George
Illustrated by Geneviève Côté
Simply Read Books
Ages 5 to 8
Spark is irresistible. From the very beginning, Spark has us under his dragon spell, grinning crookedly on the front cover, a lick of fire issuing from the side of his mouth. He is a sweet little green dragon with a great big fire inside him that he must learn how to control, because his fiery breath causes havoc wherever he goes. But with his patient mother and father cheering from the sidelines, Spark finally “tames his flame” and learns something important about growing up.
Written by Kallie George, with enchanting illustrations by Geneviève Côté, Spark is the first book in the Tiny Tails early reader series. The story creates a perfect balance between the exotic and the familiar; Spark may be a fire-breathing dragon whose idea of a treat is a hot red pepper, but he is also a growing child who likes toasted marshmallows and helps with the dishes. His friends may be mythical creatures (a griffin, a phoenix, a troll and a unicorn), but they all enjoy an old-fashioned birthday cake with candles.
George’s rhythmic text moves along with just the right amount of repetition to build expectation, and gives the dramatic reader a number of satisfying fire noises to make (CRACKLE! WHOOSH! PIFF!). As the story unfolds, Côté’s endearing illustrations provide a whimsical peek into the world the dragons inhabit—which is quite similar to ours, but funnier. There are smiles on every page for both adults and children, including a familiar scene when his parents resort to a book to tell them how to help Spark with his fiery problem. This gentle, amusing story will have children wanting to read it again and again.
Charis Cotter is a freelance writer who lives in Newfoundland. Her children’s novel, The Swallow: A Ghost Story, will be published by Tundra Books in 2014.
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