By Donna Cangelosi
I recently won a copy of THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT by Penny Parker Klostermann, Illustrated by Ben Mantle (Random House, 2015).
This book is nothing short of perfection! The catchy description says it all: "A knight, a steed, a squire, a cook, a lady, a castle, a moat, plus one very hungry old dragon add up to a hilarious and rollicking tale about a dragon who just can't keep his mouth closed... at least not until he eats almost everything in the kingdom. It's not polite!" How is that for a pitch? And that's only the beginning!
The picture book has some great takeaways for aspiring authors:
. Clever title. There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight- a fun spin off of the classic, There Was an Old Woman themed books.
. Words, words, words! Penny introduces words like savory, shady, tassel, guzzled, gulped, bloat, perchance, billow and amass. The book is so much fun to read that kids don't even realize they're learning new vocabulary words!
. "Clippity, clippity, clippity, clop. It's not polite!" Penny adds to the humor, charm and page turns of the book by using this fun refrain. Her writing dances off the pages. She incorporates onomatopoeia and rhyme, and her meter is spot on.
. Story Arc. The dragon starts out slow, eating just one knight but from there he gets carried away. The conflict builds and then... You'll have to read the story to find out about the resolution!
. Illustrations. The illustrations are hysterical and work perfectly with the text. You'll have to re-read the book several times to take them all in. They are hilarious!
. Satisfying conclusion. This is a must read! Treat yourself and enjoy!
. Huggable! In her author biography, Penny writes, "Penny is a hugger of picture books and hopes this book will gain huggable status with readers everywhere!" As one picture book hugger to another, THERE WAS AN OLD DRAGON WHO SWALLOWED A KNIGHT is without a doubt, HUGGABLE!
Penny Parker Klostermann taught school for 26 years before she began writing. Her second picture book, A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale, also illustrated by Ben Mantle will be published by Random House, Fall, 2017. Penny lives in Abilene Texas with her husband.
Donna Cangelosi and Chana Stiefel are picture book critique partners & friends who are passionate about kids' books & are eager to share tidbits from their writing journey with other aspiring writers.