This childrens book tells the tale of two little candy dragons who live in the land of snow and ice known as Buffalo. Unlike normal run of the mill dragons, these two candy dragons who simply are the cutest of their kind blow out the scent of a scrumptious candy cane instead of fire. Nay-Nay is the quiet, shy one with her red and white mane. Nay-Nay is very different from her sister Maj who loves to talk, makes friends with anyone, and has a beautiful mane of her own.

One day they go off exploring and have an adventure by meeting various animals in distress. There is the puppy dog with no feet known as Tootie Slim. There is the lost bear known as Munchkin. There is the old blind cat named Mrs. Pookie who has also lost her tail. Then, there is the deer, Butchie, who has fallen down a well and can’t get out. There are numerous other animals in distress and in each case the candy dragons are able to help in one way or another. They continue on until they find themselves in a sort of paradise where they are met by the wise old owl known as Uncle Dee. He counsels them on the way to get home and tells them that in addition to all the good deeds they have done, one has to be obedient, kind, and loving as there is no other way. Before long, the dragons are back home in the land of snow and ice safe and sound and enriched by their experiences.

Clearly this is a work of love by the author who has created this book in the memory of her late son and plans to dedicate future books to him. The names of the dragons are for her young granddaughters and it is clear that this is a work grounded in family and the author’s faith.

However, there are serious issues with the book. The first and most obvious to readers is the heavy handedness of the religious theme. While no mention is made of the religious theme on the publisher website, this book is centered heavily into the idea that Christianity is the one and only way to God. The concept is pushed with zero subtly throughout the book. References to God, the Christian way of doing things, having a blessed day, etc are frequently stated on every page. After each animal is rescued either the young dragons refer directly to God and helping people or the animal does before the parties go their separate ways.

Then there are situations such as the woman who takes the blind cat in as being referred to her directly as Mrs. Pookie’s savior, the land of sunshine, flowers, etc near the end is directly referred to as being paradise and is ruled in harmony by a wise old owl/god, etc. This constant religious drumbeat centered around one and only religion being the way to God will disturb some readers. One would expect such heavy handedness from a faith based publisher regarding the theme and would know that going in, but, in this case, customers are not aware of this situation on any level based on the synopsis at the subsidy/self publisher or elsewhere.

Beyond the page after page of religious preaching, there are problems with the way the text and book is constructed. The illustrations by Bobbi Switzer on the cover and each right hand page are a nice touch and are entertaining on their own. The text is placed on the left side with no paragraphs or line spacing. Because of this, the text frequently doesn’t line up correctly with the illustrations being used. This, in addition to frequent incorrect punctuation within the rhyming text often makes sentences start incorrectly or end at the wrong place. Such problems make this book at times a difficult read for its intended audience of children as well as adults.

Ultimately, this is a book that is difficult to recommend to any audience. Even if one ignores the peachiness of the work on page after page and nearly every line, one can’t ignore the flaws regarding the text. With two dragons named after the author’s granddaughters and the book dedicated to her late son, it is unfortunate that the author didn’t make some editorial changes before proceeding with publication. Hopefully, future books planned in this series will address some of these issues.

The Little Candy Breathing Dragons

Written by Gloria Clark

Illustrated by Bobbi Switzer

Outskirts Press

http://www.outskirtspress.com

February, 2008

ISBN# 978-1-4327-1510-6

36 Pages

$12.95

Kevin R. Tipple © 2008

Currently reading “Some Like It Hot-Buttered” by Jeffrey Cohen
(Berkley Prime Crime/Penguin) Book Reviews and more http://kevintipplescorner.blogspot.com/

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