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'Not Your Typical Dragon' by Dan Bar-el: A picture book with heart

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Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el

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"Not Your Typical Dragon" by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Tim Bowers is a charming and thoughtful picture book that will appeal to a wide range of children. It's a story about being different. It's also about acceptance and appreciation of our differences. And that's a wonderful theme for today's society.

Crispin, a young dragon, is about to turn seven. That's the magical age when a dragon first begins to breathe fire. But Crispin doesn't breathe fire -- he breathes whipped cream. All over the birthday cake. (He had been trying to light the candles.)

His sister likes the whipped cream. When his parents take him to the doctor's office, he breathes band-aids. "We were low on Band-Aids," the nurse says.

And during fire-breathing practice at school, Crispin breathes out marshmallows. The other young dragons don't mind. They all get pointy sticks so they can roast the marshmallows.

Crispin runs away and meets a knight. Together they learn about friendship and being different. The ending is wonderful and Crispin is indeed, not your typical dragon.

Parents and teachers take note: Kids will love this story. It's humorous and adventurous, but it also has a moral. Like the picture book "Please Bring Balloons," it would be a lot of fun for kids to make their own version of this story. Instead of whipped cream, they might have toy trains come out of the dragon's mouth -- or something else everybody loves.

Please note: This review is based on the F&G provided by the publisher, Viking, for review purposes.

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