Born into a family of fire-breathing dragons, Crispin has been looking forward to his seventh birthday. He expects to light the candles on his cake with his first flames, but whipped cream comes out instead. During a doctor's visit, Band-Aids shoot from Crispin's mouth. When he encounters Sir George, a nervous young knight sent out to slay a fire-breathing dragon, Crispin can manage only bubbles. It's the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Their fathers meet in a fiery confrontation, but Crispin saves the day and others recognize his special gift. Clearly expressing the characters' emotions through exaggeration, Bowers' colorful acrylic paintings capture the comic absurdity as well as the drama of the story. A Canadian writer and storyteller, Bar-el creates an entertaining and comforting tale aimed at children who long to be appreciated for what they can do, even if it's not exactly what their parents were expecting. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
A young dragon who doesn't fit the mold still finds a way to save the day in this comically offbeat story about embracing individuality. Crispin Blaze can't wait to set alight the candles on his seventh birthday cake at the exact moment he's supposed to start breathing fire. When the moment of truth arrives, however, a torrent of whipped cream bursts from Crispin's mouth, much to the delight of his younger sister. Crispin's concerned parents take him to the doctor, but nothing helps, and Crispin runs away and finds a kindred spirit in a timid knight, who tries to coach the dragon. Readers will quickly realize that Crispin has a knack for breathing exactly what a situation calls for, whether it's bandages at the doctor's office, beach balls at the shore, or water when Crispin's father's fire-breathing gets out of control. Bowers's (Dream Big, Little Pig!) colorful bug-eyed dragons and Middle-Ages-meets-the-suburbs setting amplify the humor in Bar-el's (That One Spooky Night) prose, both of which make the message about embracing one's talents go down easy. Ages 3–up. Illustrator's agent: East West Literary Agency. (Feb.)
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