Have You Seen My … Steve Light Book?

Have You Seen My DragonBookendsCindy: Have you seen Lynn’s dining-room table? Neither has her husband. 😉 We both often use our dining tables for stacking and sorting our to-be-read piles, our read-but-need-blogging piles, and our donate-to-school piles. It doesn’t leave much room for charcuterie trays or fancy napkins.

One of the books that got lost along the way was Steve Light’s delightful Have You Seen My Dragon? (2014). Like the dragon in the book who eludes his young friend’s search, our copy of this book was always slipping through our fingers when we needed to blog it.

I want to grab my fine-point sharpies
and do some extra coloring.

In this fantastic and fantastical counting book, a young boy asks a hotel doorman, “Have you seen my dragon?” The black-and-white spread has one spot of color: the green, scaly dragon hiding behind a potted plant. The next page has the boy thinking that maybe the dragon was hungry and went looking for a street cart. The dragon is now black and white and blends with the scene while two hot dogs are highlighted in brown. With each page turn there’s another view of the city, sometimes on rooftops (5 water towers) and sometimes underground (11 manhole covers). Kids ready for counting to twenty will easily spot the items to count, and while it’s not too hard to find the dragon the detailed illustrations will be great for repeated reads and pouring over. Me, I want to grab my fine-point sharpies and do some extra coloring … the pages will appeal to fans of the new Zentangle craze.

MonsterLynn: In case you are tempted to set aside Light’s new book, Have You Seen My Monster?, thinking you know what it’s like and can put it right out for the kids—please think again! Yes, it has more intricately detailed ink illustrations. Yes, it asks the reader to locate something on the page. And yes, it is a delight to read just like Have You Seen My Dragon? But Light has added the element of shape identification to the fun in this new April publication.

A little girl and her family go to the county fair where she looks for her monster. She continues to search for her friendly monster among the many fair venues like the carousel, the hall of mirrors, the bumper cars, and even the livestock exhibits. Each page features a new shape that is shown in a banner on the right-hand page and then worked into the illustration. The shapes are drawn in colors that stand out against the black-and-white illustrations and make them easy to find. The basic shapes are all here, but there are also some unusual ones like heptagons and curvilinear triangles. It is fun to look for the monster and the shapes, but it is also a treat to just enjoy the marvelous and exuberant drawings. This is a fair that I want to visit!

The illustrations are large enough to share in a story time but this is a book that invites close inspection. Ask children to chose a shape and create their own scenes incorporating the shape into their drawing.




About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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