Thursday, July 29, 2010

Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon

This was better than school.  The only locker for a hundred miles belonged to Davy Jones.  He was still the only dragon in a crew of frogs and lizards, but now he was the terror of the seas!  No one made fun of his mythical status, or he'd make them walk the plank! 

There was just one problem...where was that beeping coming from?

The beeping, alas, is from Danny Dragonbreath's alarm clock, waking him from his magnificent piratical dream to the mundane reality of yet another school day.  Not only is Danny always getting picked on for being the only mythical creature in his school (otherwise populated by reptiles and amphibians),  but he has neglected to do his science paper on oceans, due today. Picking  his nerdy best friend's brain doesn't help--all Wendell knows about the ocean is that it's big, wet, salty, and has fish in it.  Danny gets a big fat red F and has to rewrite, prompting a visit to his cousin Edward the Sea Monster, who gives Danny and Wendell a guided tour of the ocean world.

Such is the plot of Dragonbreath, the first volume in a lively new series by Ursula Vernon.  Dragonbreath's playful prose  is complemented by many delightful pages of comic-style illustration, all done in a palette of green, black and white.  The illustration reminded me a little of the Babymouse books, with its perky representations of  anthropomorphized animals and their vivid imaginations.  I would say that the reading level of the Dragonbreath series is just a smidgen higher than Babymouse, mostly due to the chapters of plain text.  But the entertainment value of Dragonbreath is every bit as high...and that's saying something.

Ewan's favourite line:  "AGGGH!  The scurvy!  It burns! ".  Dramatic, yes? 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My Favourite Cupcake Queen

I just get such a kick out of the Babymouse books.  I can't resist sharing this, courtesy of Unshelved, a library webcomic I also think is great.  Jennifer and Matt sum it up better than I ever could: