Dear Dragon

illus. by Rodolfo Montalvo. 40p. Viking. Sept. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780451472304.
PreS-Gr 2—In this picture book that's written in bouncy rhyme, classrooms at a school for human children and one for dragons are each beginning a combined poetry and pen-pal unit. Blaise Dragomir and George Slair exchange letters, telling each other about their families, relating what's going on in school, and finding out that they have lots in common, without ever realizing that theirs is an interspecies friendship. The game is up at the pen-pal picnic, though, when the friends are at first startled but then just happy to meet at last—and the teachers plan the same trick for next year. Young readers will enjoy being in on the secret that this tale's characters don't know about; adding to the fun are Montalvo's bright, detailed, and at times wonderfully chaotic depictions of childhood.
VERDICT Funk's title is perfect for classes undertaking a pen-pal unit, but general picture book collections can benefit from this gentle reminder that kids who look different can still get along.

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