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- TITLE: Have You Seen My Dragon?
- WRITTEN & ILLUSTRATED BY: Steve Light
- PAGES: 40
- ISBN: 9780763666484
- Available on Amazon, here.
So I am a big sucker for a couple things. First, I am quite obsessed with black and white. Nearly my entire house contains black and white items with pops of colors, monochrome is kind of my thing. Another thing I love, is sparkle! This book has both. I love the fact that the entire book is monochrome, except for the little pops of color for the parts of the image that are important on that page. The book is pretty big which is awesome because the spreads are fantastic to look at. Reading the synopsis on the book jacket, the author and illustrator, Steve Light actually created this with simply a pen and ink. The hand drawn aesthetic is different than what we normally see in books, and I’m quite obsessed with the look overall. I am also loving the fact that it is a pretty long book, it took us a good amount of time to get through it and we could have spent even more time on each page because there are so many elements to it.
Super Speedy Summary
A poor little boy has lost his dragon! This book follows a young boy as he searches a city (what I am assuming to be New York city) for his dragon who is hiding from him. On each page he sees many things, and imagines what his dragon might be doing around the city, but he just can’t seem to find him anywhere. It is not until the last page where he finds his dragon, in such a surprising location – we won’t tell you where!
Frankly, while there may be tons of counting books available, this one was one of the most interesting and unique ones I have seen. Each page has so many things to look at and to look for, it’s amazing! The book counts from 1 to 20 and on each page there are certain items that you must count and they are colored in while everything else is black and white. It was so fun going through the book with AJ and looking for all of the items, admittedly some were difficult to find. It really took me back to my childhood when I would search and search for Waldo, and it was so satisfying to finally find him. This book is really similar in that the illustrations are so wacky and the pages are cluttered with so many things it makes it a bit difficult to find all of the items as well as the dragon. But that is the fun of it!
One thing that really interests me about this book is that it is set in New York City, which is where the author lives with his family. It’s amazing to see his interpretation of the city where buildings are misshapen, roads are windy and unrealistic, and even the items you are supposed to find throughout the book are very indicative of the location (taxis, hot dogs, fire hydrants). I have a little hidden secret, I am quite obsessed with NYC but I have never been there!
Anytime I find a book (children’s book or otherwise) that talks about the city, I must have it. I’d love to travel there, but I haven’t yet. A part of me is afraid it won’t live up to the expectation I have created around it. Perhaps books such as these are actually inhibiting my ability to go, New York seems like such a mystical and mysterious place with lots of hustle and bustle and energy, much like this book exhibits. I do wonder if I visited, if this book would have greater meaning to me in terms of the references and cultural nuances of the place. I’d love to see the author create similar books in other settings.
Finally, I am fascinated by this book’s attention to detail and advocacy of exploration. I love when I go back through a book and catch subtleties left by the author that either foreshadow the story or are hidden gems. The end papers on this book show a map of the city and the path the reader will follow (including the numbers) to find the dragon. If I’d paid a little more attention when we first read it, we probably could have guessed the ending! That, and the author’s clear appreciation of exploration and problem solving make this book one that is more involved than it appears at first glance.
An excellent counting book with amazing illustrations that keep you begging for more. Also, I <3 NYC.
This book earns 5 stars from us! The illustrations are gorgeous, which makes it amazing to look at for a young child that doesn’t know how to read. It has a clear purpose (counting) and also a fun, whimsical story to follow along the way. Finally, it is something you can either read through quickly or spend more time on as desired thanks to all the intricate details.
Now that October is officially upon us, we plan to showcase a few of our Fall / Halloween books in the upcoming weeks. These seasonal books are ones you definitely want on your child’s bookshelf when these important times come around each year. See you next week!