Friday, February 25, 2011

Children's Book Review - The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari by Donita K. Paul (4/5 stars)

The Dragon and the Turtle Go on SafariReading level: Ages 4-8
Genre: Imagination and Play
Size:  40 pages
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Release Date: January 11, 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0307446459
Stand Alone or Series: 2nd The Dragon and The Turtle Book
Source: Finished Copy through Librarythings's Early Reviewer Program
Rating: 4/5 stars

I got a copy of this book through Librarything's Early Reviewer program.  I have a four year old son who adores dragons and was really looking forward to reading this book with him.  The strong point of this book are the wonderful illustrations.  The story is decent too and teaches some good lessons.

Padraig (the dragon) and Roger (the turtle) are determined to camp out all night on a pretend safari.  The problem is they keep encountering and hearing dangerous wild animals, for example baby cougars (kittens), etc.  They are going to try and make it through the night but when Padraig gets too scared it might be time to retire to the comforts of home.

This book had a lot of strengths.  The illustrations are cute and the story is fun.  The friends are supportive of each other and when Padraig gets too scared Roger lets him know it's okay to admit you are scared and to try again another time.  It's a good example of imaginative play where the characters are pretending to be on safari but are really only in their backyards.

There were also a couple of problems with the book.  First of all there is a lot of Brit-speak in here.  I thought it was kind of cute, but my four year old found it confusing at points and wanted me to stop and explain what all the words meant or why they were used that way.  Okay if you want your kid learning British English, but a bit confusing for kids just learning how to read.  The plot was a bit confusing too, at first it wasn't clear whether they were actually on a safari or pretending to be on a safari.  At points the pictures actually show giraffes and stuff and at other times they show the actual animals (Raccoons, squirrels).  As an adult I found it kind of confusing and my son was totally confused.  He thought they lived in the jungle and then wondered why they were calling things a cougar but showing a kitten.  So that is a bit confusing also.

Overall though it was definitely a winner for my son.  He enjoys the story and grabs it off the bookshelf quite often to read.  It is not his favorite book but he enjoys it.  I really enjoy the great illustrations but having to stop to explain the British English gets a bit tiresome.  Cute story for fans of dragons.  Teaches imaginative play and how to be a good and sensitive friend.  It is a decent read, but my son and I didn't like it enough to go out and by the first book in this series: The Dragon and the Turtle.

The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari

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