Score: 95+/100 (9.5+ out of 10)
The perfect children's book is hard to find, but we may have found something close to perfection in Baby Dragon's Big Sneeze by Sheryl Bass!
The book combines bright, beautiful, colorful artwork with cute, compelling characters and a story line that many of us can empathize with.
We've all had difficulty holding in a big sneeze in a social situation or in a public place. It can be very uncomfortable and embarrassing. It's even worse when you're a fire-breathing dragon like Baby Dragon, the main protagonist of the book.
Poor Baby Dragon has a very bad cold, and he finds it impossible to stop sneezing! Unfortunately, every time he sneezes, he also breathes fire and causes destruction and mayhem. This makes the villagers angry and vengeful for a time until a courageous little girl named Mirabelle recognizes that Baby Dragon doesn't want to hurt anyone after all, he just has a bad cold!
Something we really loved about this book is that it's very age appropriate, kind, and peaceful throughout. Even when Baby Dragon is breathing fire, it isn't portrayed as a horrific act of violence. And even when the villagers blame Baby Dragon for the destruction, they don't come after him with weapons or threats. Instead, this book maintains a positive, loving, caring, peaceful tone throughout. It teaches children about the power of understanding and about putting ourselves in other peoples' shoes.
It is determined that all Baby Dragon really needed was some love, friendship, and time to get over his illness. We absolutely adored the scene in which the townsfolk sewed a yellow sweater to help keep Baby Dragon warm and to help him to feel better.
Another lesson your children can take away from this book is developing good habits while you're sick so as to not make others sick. Namely, this book teaches the young reader to catch their sneeze/cough in their “wing” (or elbow) so that they can't easily spread their germs to other people, thus spreading illness.
This book also usually a very tight and fun little rhyme scheme that your children will love reading.
Once again, the star of this book is really the illustrator, Ramesh Ram. The illustrations are terrific and high quality, having an almost three-dimensional appearance. The human characters are so well-detailed, each being distinct and semi-realistic in their appearance without falling into the uncanny valley. These illustrations almost resemble something from those old children's Bibles that were widely in circulation. We do wish that Baby Dragon's head were a little longer and more reptilian (rather than human) and that Mirabelle had as much detail as the other human characters like the villagers. For example, Mirabelle's features compared to other characters appear flat. Perhaps she could've used some freckles or something?
Anyway, we could imagine that children who are sick or getting over an illness might really empathize with this book and fall in love with it. It's incredible across the board!
Check it out on Amazon!