Me and My Dragon: Christmas Spirit
David Biedrzycki has been creating illustrations for book publishers, advertising agencies, magazines, and design firms since 1980. His art has graced the cover of KidSoft magazine, New England Aquarium billboards and children's software packaging, such as “The Amazon Trail” and “Odell Down Under.” He is the author/illustrator of the Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective series as well as Me and My Dragon and Me and My Dragon: Scared of Halloween. He also illustrated The Beetle Alphabet Book and Dory Story. David lives in Medfield, Massachusetts.
Read more about David.
In the third story in the Me and My Dragon series, the red dragon and the boy who owns him find a new way to celebrate Christmas.
The unnamed, dark-skinned boy with straight, black hair and Dragon work together to earn money to buy Christmas gifts for their family members. They take all sorts of freelance jobs, mostly ones that come with gag opportunities, such as selling toasted marshmallows, cleverly roasted with Dragon’s fiery breath, on a stick. After babysitting for free for a single mom with seven kids, the boy and his pet see that the family can’t afford to heat their house. The boy donates his funds to an agency that provides fuel to needy families, and with his earnings, Dragon buys some of the latest toys for the children of the family. Instead of giving store-bought presents to one another, the boy and Dragon make simple gifts at home for their family, and both find their Christmas of helping others the “Best Christmas ever!” Bold, digital illustrations have an animation aesthetic and use a pleasing variety of perspectives and page formats, and the dragon with its bulging yellow eyes is quite a scene stealer.
The idea of giving to others as the best way to celebrate Christmas is certainly not new, but the treatment here is fresh enough thanks to the help of the charming red dragon.
Who needs Santa when you have a dragon? This third book in Biedrzycki's picture book series finds his young narrator trying to help his bright red dragon get into the holiday spirit. In order to buy gifts, the two embark on a series of money-making ventures, learning—among other things—that selling dragon-heated hot chocolate is a better wintertime option than (frozen) lemonade. Biedrzycki's digitally created illustrations have the same cinematic energy and visual humor of the previous books (in one early sequence, the dragon zips two pedestrians across the street after they wait an eternity for the traffic light to change), but the author steers the story in a nobler direction as the boy decides to use his earnings to help a family in need. It's a well-balanced mix of humor, Christmastime generosity, and fire-breathing fun.
School Library Journal
A boy and his dragon discover the true meaning of Christmas. In droll, matter-of-fact text, an unnamed hero explains all the ways that his pet dragon doesn’t understand the spirit of Christmas (belied by the hysterically funny illustrations, which show the dragon making donations, singing carols, and helping strangers, while his oblivious human dreams of holiday gifts). The boy comes up with the perfect gift for dragon, but when he strikes out on the parental front for financial assistance, he realizes that he’d better find a way to earn some money. Fortunately, his pet dragon is there to help. They try out a number of jobs and are surprisingly successful—so much so that they have time to do a little free babysitting for Mrs. Jones, who has a large family. In the end, it turns out both boy and dragon had a very good understanding of the true meaning of Christmas, right from the start. VERDICT A terrific holiday read-aloud that imparts an important lesson in a funny and entertaining manner.
In David Biedrzycki's Me and My Dragon: Christmas Spirit, the boy-and-beast team are preparing for the holidays. Lacking the funds to buy Christmas gifts, they take on odd (very, very odd) jobs for cash. Dragon's fire-breathing abilities prove lucrative: He broils up menu items at the Burger Barn and toasts marshmallows, which his enterprising little partner sells for 50 cents. But when it's time to go shopping, the boy has a change of heart, and he donates his money to a worthy cause. As for Dragon, he contributes homemade cookies (although his baking skills are questionable). Biedrzycki's clever digital illustrations are crammed with Christmas goodness—snowy sidewalks, costumed carolers and two happy friends.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-907-5 EPUB
ISBN: 978-1-60734-908-2 PDF
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Page count: 40
11 x 8 1/2
Correlated to Common Core State Standards:
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade K. Standards 1-7, 10
English Language Arts-Literacy. Reading Literature. Grade 1. Standards 1-4, 6, 7, 10