Book Review: “Dear Dragon” by Josh Funk and Rodolfo Montalvo

dear dragonJosh Funk, author of Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast, is back with another hilarious, charming, and rhyming picture book!

Dear Dragon is the story of two students who have been paired as “pen pals” for the year. Blaise, a dragon, and George, a human, are tasked with getting to know each other through the exchange of written letters. Neither of the boys are particularly fond of writing but reluctantly participate in this exchange. As the letters start to arrive, George and Blaise get to know each other and form an unlikely friendship. They swap favorite hobbies and sports, talk about school subjects, and their families. The only thing they don’t learn is that one of them is a dragon and the other is a human! With the end of the school year pen pal picnic approaching, these two are excited to finally meet, but what will happen when they see each other for the first time?

Josh Funk has crafted a story about unlikely friendships, looking past physical differences, and learning to love writing. Rodolfo Montalvo compliments Funk’s rhythm and rhyming with beautiful watercolor and acrylic illustrations. This is a winning author and illustrator team.

Dear Dragon is a WONDERFULLY complex text!

Those who have read Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast know that Josh Funk can draw huge laughs out of readers, but there is nothing simple about his humor. From the names of the characters, to the double meanings hidden in the exchanged letters, he challenges readers with clever humor. A challenge that will be enjoyed and met with laughter by both young and adult readers. Montalvo’s illustrations do a wonderful job of highlighting this humor, showing inconsistencies between the imaginations and realities of George and Blaise.

Beyond being a memorable read-aloud, Dear Dragon has powerful uses as a teaching tool. In the age of Skype and texting this book can be used to introduce pen pals or letter writing. It can be used to discuss themes of friendship and valuing character over appearance. It can be used to compare expectations with realities. It can be used to highlight characters with apprehension about writing, showing students that it is okay to be frustrated by writing!

All readers, dragon and human alike, will find Dear Dragon’s heart and wit completely enchanting.

Update (8/29/16): Check out the book trailer for Dear Dragon here!

Title: Dear Dragon
Written by: Josh Funk
Illustrated by: Rodolfo Montalvo
Published by: Viking Children’s Books (Penguin)
On Sale: September 6th, 2016


Review by: Paul Orsino

(Copy for review received from publisher)




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