TRAFTON, Jennifer. Henry and the Chalk Dragon. illus. by Benjamin Schipper. 240p. Rabbit Room. Apr. 2017. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780986381881.
Gr 3-6 –Henry Penwhistle has a very active imagination. His mother has drawn on his bedroom door with chalkboard paint, and Henry decorates his door with a variety of changing pictures, including a dragon, a dinosaur, and a rhino. One morning, as the boy prepares for school, the dragon springs to life, hitching a ride in Henry’s lunch box. This is the beginning of the very wacky adventure of Henry and his friends Oscar and Jade as they try to save their classmates and their elementary school from the havoc-wreaking dragon. Henry and Oscar send barbs back and forth in a flurry of amusing and unusual language, and the metaphors fly (“his sword was as swift and swishy as a hummingbird caught in a washing machine.”). Readers will chuckle out loud at the outlandish predicaments that the characters face. Henry is sympathetic as an artist scared to share his gift, and in the end he learns to trust both his friends and the caring adults in his life. VERDICT A perfect title to hand to young readers looking for laughs along with a wild and crazy adventure.
This review was published in the School Library Journal March 2017 issue.