Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Small Readers: Dragon goes ice skating adapted by Samantha Swank, based on an original TV episode written by Steve Westren

I requested a big stack of easy readers to look through, primarily titles that seemed to be series. When this one came, it was fairly obvious it was a tie-in to a tv show, but it took me some research to find that it was a Canadian tv show based on Dav Pilkey's Dragon series. This normally isn't at all the kind of thing I'd review, but I did have some thoughts on it after all.

Dragon, a lumpy clay figure who looks rather more like a dinosaur than a dragon in my opinion, is having trouble with the winter weather. His hat blows away and he falls down on the icy yard. So he puts on a helmet instead of a hat, thick ice skates, and tries again. He's still unsuccessful until his friend Beaver suggests holding onto a chair to practice and soon he's skating on his own. He then plays a game of hockey with his friend Alligator, more friends show up and they put on an ice-skating show, and the story ends with a little moral. "Dragon still fell down sometimes. But he always got back up!"

Stills of the tv show are laid out like photos in blue-edged frames. The background of the pages is light blue with a snowflake pattern. There are a couple full-spread images with the text laid out on the clear patches of ice. The text itself is a subtle dark blue. The background images are light enough not to distract from the reading but the font is a little smaller than I'd normally see in a beginning easy reader. The images aren't very attractive; claymation needs movement to bring it to life and the pictures mostly just look lumpy and and out of focus.

The particular book I'm reading is from a prebound company and this is one of the reasons I won't purchase their products - the cover is much lighter and more attractive while the interior art looks like a poor photocopy. This may or may not be due to the prebind company, but the close gutters, which cut off large portions of the artwork, certainly are. Losing parts of the frames around the pictures is very distracting. Sure, the book will probably last forever - but why would you want it to? As far as I know, the tv show is no longer aired, if it ever was in the US and I'd rather this dingy book fell apart as soon as possible so I could purchase something more appealing.

Verdict: Baker and Taylor has their own prebind version available for backorder, but I wouldn't recommend it. This is part of the reason I put easy readers into my tubs - so I don't have to spend a lot of money on fleetingly popular titles. By the time the paperbacks have fallen apart, the show is no longer of interest. Every library has their own collection development policies, but for me I've not only ruled out all prebind companies, I've also nixed all paperback easy readers unless they're going in the tubs (which, update, I can no longer do. So, no paperback easy readers ever!)

ISBN: 9780545200622; Published 2012 by Scholastic/Prebound by Penworthy; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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