Again! by Emily Gravett

againIt is clear from reading Emily Gravett’s delightful new picture book that bedtime stories and toddler tantrums become slightly more dangerous when you are dealing with a dragon.

Gravett usually works with limited text and unusual animals as characters and this book is no exception. The spunky little dragon only speaks a single word throughout the entire story: “Again!” His parent is a little more verbose, reading (and re-reading) the favorite book identified only by a red dragon on the cover. As the night goes on and the child keeps demanding “Again!” readers will notice that the story in the book changes little by little, until the parent has fallen asleep. This of course, only enrages the small dragon further, which slightly disastrous results for the book (remember that dragons breathe fire, and you can probably guess the outcome).

Gravett’s pencil and watercolor illustrations perfectly complement the sly humor of the text, with the expression on the parent dragon’s face going from indulgent to long-suffering, to flat-out exhausted. Gravett plays cleverly with color, contrasting the red dragon in the bedtime book with the bright green of the parent and child. Of course, as time passes and emotions run high, you can bet that the little dragon will not stay green very long. The hand-lettered text of his cries perfectly reflects the frustration of someone who is NOT tired and wants to hear the story just one more time. Small listeners will sympathize with him, even as they gently touch the results of his rage in the back cover of the book. This is a great choice for a read aloud, bedtime or anytime story.

— Cecilia

Again, by Emily Gravett,  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $17.99

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