Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library by Julie Gassman and Andy Elkerton – Book Review

This fun book is absolutely jam-packed with diverse characters. Black, Asian, mixed-race, white, and disabled are all represented, along with an assortment of scaly, fire-breathing pets.

Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library by Julie Gassman and Andy Elkerton 

The main two characters are the black boy from the front cover, and the black female librarian. And it is the librarian who sternly describes what awful accidents can occur should anyone be tempted to bring their dragons to the library…

The illustrations are very much in the style of the ‘How Do Dinosaurs…’ series of picture books by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. And if you like those, you’ll love this. It’s a sumptuously illustrated book full of vivid colour and humorous details that kids love. Told in rhyme, every other page is a repeat of the refrain ‘so do NOT bring your dragon to the library’. It won’t take children long to pick up on this – mine were shouting it out gleefully well before the end.

My one (little) criticism would be that there are places towards the end where rhyme and rhythm are fighting for supremacy. I’m not sure I can forgive rhyming ‘solution’ with ‘smart substitution’, for instance. But overall the story has real charm and wit. I’m pretty sure I’m just being fussy.

And of course, who doesn’t love a book about a library? This in itself is quite the sub-genre these days, so it’s good to see a library that hosts such a diverse range of characters. And, even better, with a black woman in charge.

This is one of those lighthearted-nonsense books that kids and grown-ups can chuckle over together, while at the same time presenting children with a vision of a world where everyone – even dragons – eventually get to enjoy reading books together.

By the same author and illustrator:

It seems that dragon-owners need quite a bit of guidance on what activities are appropriate for their pet! As a consequence, author and illustrator team Julie Gassman and Andy Elkerton have several more books on the subject, with number four (Field Trip) due out in July 2019

Picture Books with Diverse Characters

Have you seen my full list of the best 23 picture books with diverse characters? Just like Windows, all of these picture books feature black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) boys as main characters. Something that’s as rare as proverbial hen’s teeth in children’s books, and a problem I’ve written about here.

So check out the list to find out more about our favourites, and take a peek inside. If you like the look of Windows, I’m sure you’ll find some others to love there too!

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