Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dragon Stew - a book review

Oh no, don't eat me....please!!

Quote of the day:

"I think being a dragon would be pretty awesome...you get to fly."
                                            -Josh Keaton

Featured book of the day:

Title:  Dragon Stew
Author:  Steve Smallman
Illustrator:  Lee Wildish
Ages:  4-7

Let's look inside shall we?

About the book:

This fun, creative book is the perfect choice for a read-aloud.  

"Five bored Vikings went out hiking, looking for adventure, something daring, bold and new.  So they thought they'd hunt a dragon, and tie it to their wagon, take it home and chop it up and make a dragon stew!"  But when the Vikings set off to find their dragon, they get a big surprise...

Young and old will laugh at the antics of this motley crew as they go to round up a dragon for their dinner.  None of them have a clue what a dragon even is, but does that stop them?  No way...they have made up their mind and that is exactly what they are going to do.  They pack some sardine sandwiches, board their Viking boat, and watch out dragon here they come.  

They remember to pack a poking stick, (a long pole with a floppy hand tied to it to actually poke). That is a good thing if you meet up with a dragon. They manage to scare off a giant squid by dangling smelly, old socks at him.  That was ingenious for sure.  They secure themselves tightly to a killer whale of all things to hitch a lift to Dragon Island.  All good so far but they are not prepared at all when they finally meet up with the dragon. 

The surprise ending will have kids, and adults, laughing out loud. Written in rhyme and including such captivating ingredients as : squelchy bogs, smelly socks, dragon poo and quirky, hilarious characters and beasts, this book will be a hit for sure.  I like the fact that the Vikings include a girl in their crew. Very wise and inclusive. 

The illustrations are humorous, quirky and very detailed pulling the reader into the delightful rhyming text. My favourite? I loved Grim and his hairy armpits.  I laughed right out loud. Perfectible. I enjoyed  the book immensely and highly recommend it.

About the author:

Steve Smallman lives in Staffordshire with his wife, two dogs and two cats. He has four children and a grandchild. Steve has been illustrating children’s books for almost 30 years and writing his own stories for slightly less. He also teaches illustration workshops in schools, including mural-painting. Steve is the author of Smelly Peter the Great Pea Eater (Winner of the Sheffield Children's Book Award 2009) and The Lamb Who Came for Dinner (Shortlisted for the Red House Children's Book Award and read by Meatloaf on CITV's Bookaboo). When he’s not working, Steve enjoys films, television, gardening and walking in the countryside.
Steve Smallman on Steve Smallman:
I started working as an illustrator when I was in my final year at Art College and now, over 28 years later I still haven't got a proper job! I've illustrated literally hundreds of books, predominantly in educational publishing. A few years ago I was main illustrator for Longman's 'Story Street' reading scheme, illustrating 79 titles and writing 5.
I've worked in children's television, specifically in character development and most notably in the 'Raggy Doll' series in the mid to late 1980's. I have also done a certain amount of licensed work, illustrating characters such as Postman Pat, Bill and Ben and Sesame Street.
I've been described as an 'Animal Artist', not I hasten to add because I'm wild and hairy but because I love to draw animals and especially like to give them human characteristics. 
I've  been writing children's books for about 6 years and have already had several picture books published with more in development.
I've got 4 great children and although they're all adults now, my memories of them growing up inspire and inform my writing.
About the illustrator:

 I find Nature and people the biggest influence in my work and try to get as much character and expression into each piece of work as possible. Characters are the main subject of my work as I believe these can make and break a project. 

I have been fortunate to win a few awards one being Red House Children's Book Award 2013 and have been shortlisted for a few as well. I will always try to refine my styles that hopefully appeal to a wide range of artistic and a commercial markets.

I have illustrated books for clients including: Random House UK and USA, Egmont, Hodder, Hachette, Usborne, Franklin Watts, Hodder, HarperCollins, Simon Schulster UK and USA, Usborne, Scholastic and many more with a wide range of styles and media.

Book Review Rating:  9 (Close to perfection!)

Read on and read always!  Have an amazing day everyone.

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