Kelsey’s Review of God’s Saintly Friends

This is a sweet book about what saintly people do, focusing on their relationships with others. Each page is laid out so that it is predictable to emerging readers, with words on the left and art on the right. The beautifully simple line-drawing illustrations focus on the main characters; the color palette is gentle and pleasing.

The theme of describing what a saint is like is clear throughout the eight stories in the book, and is made understandable with relatable concepts. Sparking curiosity for “the rest of the story,” older kids will likely ask for more details about some of the saints. For younger kids, they can be asked to point out similar experiences in their world.

The words on each page are separated into a short factual statement and a longer description with some details, making it easy to read to children of all ages. Children can visit with each page, soaking in the details and pondering the story.

It is the perfect size: large enough to read to a lapful of kids, small enough to fit in a diaper bag, and takes about 3 minutes to read. For our family, it will be a perfect addition to our rotation of books for the kids’ church bag, and as a short story break for when I’m asked “can you read me a book?” while I’m in the midst of folding laundry or vacuuming.

This book is 100% American made by Orthodox Christian mothers who run small businesses when not busy with their children. It was written, illustrated, edited, printed, and packaged in the USA. (Not every Orthodox publisher prints in the US.) My kids love it, and we’re excited to add it to our collection of Christian kids books!”

God’s Saintly Friends is available from the publisher and in the Ancient Faith Store.

Kelsey is a mom of three who sometimes gets to design fabric and sew, but always makes time to read to her kids and to herself.

Alyson’s Review of Spyridon’s Shoes

Cover of Spyridon's Shoes
This book is also available as a paperback.

Set on the Greek Island of Corfu, the audiobook Spyridon’s Shoes by Christine Rogers is written for the seven-year-old to the pre-teen, but can be appreciated by any age. The historic fictional child Spiro and his environs are described in colorful language and details as we learn how he catches fish and octopuses to support his family. The choice expressions the author uses are dramatic and paints pictures of the playful and realistic antics of your everyday beach-loving boy. She also reads the story aloud with expression that matches the lively action.

The author brings to life the historical character of St. Spyridon who young Spiro encounters multiple times while fishing at the shore. He helps the boy when he injures his foot and nobody else is nearby to help him home. The boy looks for his kindly friend and repairs the ripped sandal tall Spyridon loaned him to walk home in. In later encounters, they become friends as he tells the white-bearded man about his worries and dreams and is consoled and encouraged. I loved the drama of the relationship that unfolded as the fatherly man shared his thoughts and aspirations about how to know God and confide in Him about everyday matters.

The traits of St. Spyridon such as his habit of helping people in need are based on actual stories passed down for centuries in Corfu. I enjoyed the author’s creativity in adding drama that aids the imagination to picture the skeleton story-line we are often left with in historical accounts. This allows the reader to appreciate the historical figure and for a child to encounter him or her more fully.

I came away with a vivid picture of the generosity and kindness of our historic saints who labor for us in invisible ways. And also the profound reminder of what saints’ lives constantly remind us of: that our connection to God is vital for the everyday things we need and prayers are what create and continue this connection.

Spyridon’s Shoes is available on Audible, and as a paperback from the publisher and on Amazon.

Alyson d’Arms is a homeschool education specialist and teacher who dabbles in poetry and historical fiction writing. She is currently exploring the trails and stories of wild Alaska.

Garrett’s Review of The Cellarer’s Celery

Cover of The Cellarer's Celery

The Cellarer’s Celery is a joyful tale that will draw the reader along as it explores some deep truths of the Christian faith and its practice in the world.

First, I want to draw attention to the rhyme and rhythm of the book. Fr. Jeremy Davis’s writing style is so fun and whimsical. The style and language of the book beg for it to be read aloud, which I did several times with my 3-year-old daughter—who also enjoyed the story.

Second, the story offers a very simple yet profound lesson on the Christian life. A few things jumped out at me during my repeated readings of this with my daughter:

  • The sower prays nightly for the flourishing of the celery crop. He doesn’t do this because he wants praise, but rather because he loves the cellarer and knows that he enjoys the celery;
  • The sower’s despondency when the celery is destroyed and his concern on how to let the cellarer know is so useful in presenting how we oftentimes face dread when we have to ask forgiveness of another;
  • The cellarer’s response and the imagery of celery as life is simple but so true and helps readers of any age remember that our life here on earth is not meant to be one of ease and comfort, but of struggle and trying. Nevertheless, our life—like celery—is savory and refreshing.

I highly recommend this book for anyone with young children as the story and illustrations—by Luke Garrow—are a delight to view and inspect. My daughter was especially fond of finding the cellarer’s mouth as it is hidden in a big beard.

Now I’m off to go enjoy a nice stick of celery.

The Cellarer’s Celery is available from the publisher and on Amazon.

Garrett is a teacher at a classical charter school in Texas, where he lives with his wife and daughter.

The Dog in the Dentist Chair, by Peggy Frezon

Reading The Dog in the Dentist Chair, I imagine Peggy Frezon like a reporter, walking around with a microphone in her hand, interviewing the special animals she’s discovered and getting their stories straight from the source, even though cats, dogs, and pigs can’t talk to us with human words. Her careful, loving observation of their personalities, their work, and the relationships they’ve built with their human friends make this the book our animal friends would write for us, if only they had opposable thumbs.

Peggy does an excellent job of blending points of view in each chapter. She helps us see the action from the animal’s point of view, but also from the child’s. The emotions and needs of both children and animals are noted and respected in each account. Peggy’s sympathy shines through the simple prose, inviting her young readers to feel recognized and understood.

I also like two other features of the book. Each chapter ends with fun facts about the animal we’ve just met – how big is he, what does she like to eat and play with, where does he live, what does she look like. The fact list is satisfying to the curious and a subtle reminder that these animals, and all the good things they represent, are real. That sense of happy reality is capped off with an aptly chosen Bible verse – short, sweet, and the perfect final touch. I love the rhythm this builds in each chapter, moving the child reader from curiosity to sympathy to comfort to confirmation, emotionally and spiritually.

The Dog in the Dentist Chair is also valuable for an adult reader. We grown-ups love animals too! But more than that, it’s an inspiring resource for parents, teachers, and care-givers looking for ways to reach and heal the children in their care. The book recounts a diverse array of human situations and needs, and the variety of animals who meet those needs, and the ways they do it, are thought-provoking and encouraging. I can readily imagine a reader finishing this book and going straight to the internet or library to find a local program to connect them with a helpful furry friend just like the ones in this good book.

The Dog in the Dentist Chair is available from Paraclete Press and Amazon

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.

Charity’s Review of Fancy Nancy: My Family History

Fancy Nancy likes to explore big words. In working with genealogy, a fancy word for family history, there are a lot of big words and concepts. Fancy Nancy encounters many of these concepts in her class assignment to write a report about an ancestor, someone in her family who lived a long time ago. However, in the process of writing her report, Nancy falls prey to the temptation that all family historians encounter at some point in documenting their family. She decides that the ordinary, every-day lives of her great-grandparents were not exciting enough for her report, so she decides to add some made-up parts to her report so that it would be more interesting. While it made her story sound better, it was not accurate (a big word for true), and she did, at the last minute, decide to just tell the real story without her embellishments.

In the world of family research, it is always good to find out as much as you can about each person you add to your family tree. It is a lot more interesting if you have more than just name, birth date, marriage date, death date, and locations lived. Those are good facts to start with, but they don’t tell the story of who the person was, fun details about them, or what made them real, beyond the dry facts.  Nancy was on the right track with telling the story rather than just the facts for her great-grandfather, but where she went off-track was in making up fancier parts of the story rather than telling the actual details.

Nancy started out well with interviewing her grandfather about his parents. This is a great first step in finding out more about your ancestors because some of your best starting materials are the older people in your family, the photos you may have, and other documents that may have been kept by family members. As a Local History and Genealogy Librarian in a public library, I work with people of all ages in how to get started with recording and researching their family history.

If you want to work with your kids (or get started in genealogy yourself), there are some great resources out there to help. Check with your local library, genealogy society, or historical society to see if they have resources or people who can help you get started. Some books that are helpful for beginners are:

Guide to Genealogy: Tips & Tricks on how to Uncover your Roots and build your Family Tree by T.J. Resler available from National Geographic Kids, Washington, DC, 2018.

Basic Genealogy for Kids by Bonnie Hinman available from Mitchell Lane Publishers, Hockessin, DE, 2012.

Climbing Your Family Tree: Online and Off-Line Genealogy for Kids (the Official Ellis Island Handbook) by Ira Wolfman, available from Workman Publishing, NY, 2002.

A couple of websites that can be helpful for working with your kids are:

The Family Tree Kids section of the Family Tree Magazine website.

Family Search (largest, free, genealogy database in the world)  Kids resource pages.

The In-Depth Genealogist Kids Korner.

Within these resources and at your local library, you will find forms to help you organize the information you find, lists of questions to ask relatives, and a lot more. It always helps to start with yourself and gather your own information (birth certificate or announcement) and the information about your parent’s birth and marriage before moving back in time to your grandparents and great-grandparents.

Happy Researching!

Fancy Nancy: My Family History is available from Amazon in paperback, hardcover, Audible, and Kindle editions.

Charity C. Rouse is a Local History and Genealogy Research Librarian, here to share her professional perspective on Fancy Nancy: My Family History.

Maddi’s Fridge, by Lois Brandt

Best friends Sofia and Maddi live in the same neighborhood, go to the same school, and play in the same park, but while Sofia’s fridge at home is full of nutritious food, the fridge at Maddi’s house is empty. Sofia learns that Maddi’s family doesn’t have enough money to fill their fridge and promises Maddi she’ll keep this discovery a secret. But because Sofia wants to help her friend, she’s faced with a difficult decision: to keep her promise or tell her parents about Maddi’s empty fridge. Filled with colorful artwork, this storybook addresses issues of poverty with honesty and sensitivity while instilling important lessons in friendship, empathy, trust, and helping others. A call to action section, with six effective ways for children to help fight hunger and information on anti-hunger groups, is also included.

There is so much to love about Maddi’s Fridge, but perhaps the best of its strengths is that the reader learns from the book by falling seamlessly into the main character’s perspective – facing her problem, feeling her feelings, considering her alternatives, and pondering the outcomes of her choices. A human being of any age will learn something about how we confront hunger in actual life – not as an issue we can click and post about, not as a disturbing statistic, not as a box of cans for the food bank we can drop some beans into as we push our loaded cart out of the grocery store. This is the story of two girls who care about each other – girls with names and faces. We can see clearly how both friends can be helped or hurt by the ways they choose to confront their situation.

Respecting the Child’s Eye View

I like the many subtle ways Maddi’s Fridge shows us that hunger is both a simple and complex problem to solve. Sofia tries to feed her friend several times. She can’t ask for food because she can’t tell Maddi’s secret, and sneaking food to school turns out to be more complicated than she thought (some food doesn’t survive an overnight visit to a grade-school backpack). Her failures introduce humor into the story, but also engage the reader’s sympathy (Sofia is trying so hard!) and subtly remind us that there’s no quick-fix to this problem.

I like the author’s respect for her characters. We never lose the child’s-eye view on the situation, but even when we giggle over fish in the backpack, we aren’t invited to scorn Sofia. Maddi’s patience with her friend’s attempts to help is also beautiful. By the third attempt, she’s expecting something “gross”, but she’s still willing to engage with her friend. Maddi, Sofia, and the reader can all tell how much love their is between these good friends.

The parallel chain of effort, in which Sofia is trying to climb the rock wall at the park and Maddi is encouraging her, adds depth to the characterization and the story. Each girl has something to offer, some advantage. Maddi is without resources in one sense, but she can climb the wall and coach Sofia to climb it. I liked this as a frame for the attempted feeding, but also as a reminder that a hungry person is still a whole person, with skills and interests. The rock wall scenes remind readers to see Maddi and Sofia as equals.

Trust and Betrayal

Maddi’s Fridge raises an important question that applies across many aspects of child safety. Secrets can be part of the innocent fun at a birthday party, or dangerous weapons against children being drawn into the power of those planning to harm them. A secret between children can be a matter of trust, but it can also be a tool for bullying, or simply the result of a childish attempt to solve a problem that requires more mature judgment.

In one sense, Sofia has to betray Maddi’s trust to get her family the help they need. The fact that their conversation AFTER the betrayal is included in the story is important. Sofia broke her promise. She broke it for the best of good reasons, but she still needed to talk it over with Maddi. Their friendship and their understanding of each other’s needs and motives shines through in this conversation. I was glad it was included in the story.

Why Vin Vogel’s Illustrations Are Just Right!

The story begins the minute you open Maddi’s Fridge because there are pictures on the end sheets – I love that! It’s morning in the front of the book, evening in the back of the book, and the illustrations here and throughout the story are chock full of details. The friendly, quirky drawings look like something a child could draw – almost – which shows an exceptional level of care and sophistication in the artist, in my view. Like the text of the story, the illustrations encompass both the depth of the subject and the child’s-eye-view of the characters and readers. There’s plenty to point at and talk over if you’re sharing this book with your littlest littles, and plenty to support an older child’s reading of the story and attract the eye even for grade schoolers who can appreciate the point and make use of the helpful resources at the end of the book.

Interview with A Seventh Grader

I happen to have a seventh-grader handy around the house, and I was interested in her perspective on the story. She recognized the book when I opened the box from the publisher, and I decided to include her views in my review.

Where did you first read this book?

I read it in second grade, and I didn’t remember even about the cheesy pizza bombs. I just remember Maddi’s Fridge and the picture on the cover.

Tell me the story again in your own words.

There are these 2 best friends named Maddi and Sofia. Sofia is slightly better off than Maddi, and Sofia always has food in her refrigerator, while Maddi only has a jug of milk. Maddi made Sofia promise not to tell anyone about her empty refrigerator. Because she wanted to help, Sofia told her mom anyway. They packed food into grocery bags and gave them to Maddi’s mom. Maddi did call her on breaking her promise, but they made up and ate cheesy pizza bombs with their families.

What do you think about Maddi and Sofia’s relationship?

I think that they are thick-and-thin best friends.

Why did Maddi make Sofia promise not to tell about her empty fridge?

Either she was embarrassed about it, or she didn’t want to accept help.

Do you think Sofia should have told her mom about Maddi’s problem? Why or why not?

Yes, because Maddi might have starved otherwise.

What do you think the mothers are talking about in their conversation when they finally meet near the end of the book?

Why Sofia’s family had no money, health food (obviously), and momish things.

How do you think this book could help someone who was hungry?

It would encourage them to stop by their local soup kitchen, or food bank instead of slowly starving themselves.

How do you think this book could help people who want to take care of their neighbors?

It will let them know what they can do to help, which saves thinking about what they could successfully (keyword: successfully) do.

Maddi’s Fridge is available on Amazon in hardcover and Kindle editions. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.

Guest Post: A House of Books

Guest poster Melissa Naasko invites us to a family ritual and the powerful reason she reads to her children. 

In a corner of my house is a round oak table that was the kitchen table my husband sat at as a child. It is where the teenaged children do their school work. Next to it is a set of bookshelves that house their books and my husband’s; these are the books that are expensive or fragile and ready for when they are needed, and the little children are not allowed to play with these books or really even look at them too hard.

On the shelf with the Theology books sits an incredibly battered book, its cardboard cover fraying badly at the corners and its binding taped back together in many places and only occasionally with any real skill. It’s a cheap book club edition of a children’s book with minimal investment in its printing costs, which explains the oddly orange hue to every page. It is worn and damaged and looks ready for the bin, but it is a prized book among my children. It is carefully placed on a high shelf near the canon law book and those of the history of the Russian Church. It is there precisely because it is fragile and valuable and ready for when it is needed.

The Calm

I have heaps of children, just heaps of them. There are eleven of them all in all, six girls and five boys. You learn a lot of things by having more children than you can count on both hands, and one of those is a sense of purpose in calm. I am not the kind of mother who seeks to make every moment of childhood this memorable, Pinterest-driven event “for the ‘gram’” because no one has that much emotional currency for that many kids. I think no one has that for any number of kids; it would be exhausting. I am not the woman who turns every event into a holiday. I am not a curmudgeon about things, but I do quietly sip tea as other mothers panic about their leprechaun and April fools brunches and think, “Uh, no.” Just no.

That said, there is one notable exception, and that is the first snow. Many years ago, now more than twenty, my oldest child came into the world on the first snow. It was the middle of September, because Colorado. I woke up one cold morning to find that while I slept my water had broken and with it came a rush of knowledge that nothing would ever be the same again. It was the beginning of a complicated and messy and beautiful story that is still unfolding to this day.

The Snow

While he was still tiny, while perusing and sifting through the books at a thrift store, I found one about a first snow. There is something about that first snow that begs us to hunker down and wall ourselves off from the outside. We want to be drenched in cocoa and thick socks and fluffy blankets. Thinking about how my first-born drove my insatiable need for domesticity, it seemed a perfect element that he was born on the first snow. It all comes together. I bought the book for a quarter. I only know it was a quarter because the price is still on it, and I cannot remember anything else I may or may not have bought that day because only this is lasting.

The Ritual

In this book, a mother rabbit and her wee little rabbit are looking for a winter home because the approaching winter is slowly taking their summer one – the leaves are falling off the bush that sheltered them. They look and look, but every inn is full and they are turned away at every knock, and so ultimately they have to make their own home. I won’t deprive you of the joy of reading this charming little book to learn how this happens, and I fully expect you to find it and read it. Let it suffice to say that when the snow finally comes, they can view it from inside their own cozy little home.

Since the very first time I read this book, I felt like the mother rabbit and her wee little rabbit and made their home in my heart. The very next first snow, I read this little book to my oldest child and I made tea and even cake. It has continued this way every first snow since. The ritual is not elaborate. We make something to eat and drink, and what we have changes and who does the baking does as well. There are years when one or another child has claimed this privilege. The only added complexities were the increasing number of children who sat around the table and listened to the book as they sipped tea or cocoa and snuggled down into their blankets.

The Reason

Now come the years when fewer children sit around the table than the year before. There are children who are grown and away at college or work and are not there to listen to the story. The ebb and flow of the conversation have changed because there are no more babies to quiet and no toddlers to wrangle. Someday we will come to the first snow when the youngest one of these children is too old to sit and listen to her mother read the book. Perhaps I will read it to myself? While a part of me grieves for this moment, this slow approaching shift in the plot line of my life, I know that the house I have built is sturdy and strong, and what is more is that they will know it, too.

The book is called Rabbit’s Search for a Little House, and it was published way back in 1988. It was written by Mary DeBall Kwitz and illustrated by Lorinda Cauley. I bought a copy for my oldest son’s twenty-first birthday to remind him of the stories of the day that he was born, when fallen branches had knocked out the power to the doctor’s office and the streetlights were out. I want him to remember the safe harbor that is my love and the love of his father and siblings and the home he can always return to when it becomes cold outside. This is why we read to children. We read to them to give them a place to come back to, one that can outlast us, one that they can then give to their children. We read to build a wee little, warm little, snug little house for ourselves and our little rabbits.


Melissa Naasko is the wife of an Orthodox deacon, the mother of eleven hungry children, and author of Fasting as a Family from Ancient Faith Publishing. She cooks, knits, and writes from the Upper Peninsula.

The Day I Ran Away, by Holly L. Niner

“While Dad tucks her in, a little girl named Grace calmly recounts her day—which was anything but calm. She had a tantrum (because of some injustices involving a purple shirt and breakfast cereal) and was banished to her bedroom before deciding to run away. Understanding that kids have ups and downs, Grace’s mom wisely gave her daughter the space and time she needed to reach her own decision to return home—to open arms.

The Day I Ran Away amusingly captures Grace’s mutable moods and childlike logic. Warm, humorous digital paintings offer fun details to keep little listeners busy. Kids can compare the bedtime and daytime scenes and try to figure out how Grace got that purple paw-print on her cheek—and when it got washed away. They can mimic Grace’s facial expressions or copy her poses for some soothing bedtime yoga. And of course, they can create a safe place to run away to when the injustices of Pre-K existence become too much to bear. A pop-up tent in the yard and the haven beneath the dining room table are excellent run-away destinations, as long as you come home for dinner.”

The Day I Ran Away from Flashlight Press is like a well-choreographed dance. Three characters, two voices, three points of view, two timelines, two picture sequences, and a dog spin around each other with no missed beats. The threads fall together easily, and despite action and humor in Isabella Ongaro’s illustrations, the tone of the book is peaceful. The little girl’s growing drowsiness in the bedtime pictures makes sense. She’s been on a big adventure that never took her beyond the reach of love and safety. You’ll want to read The Day I Ran Away over again, even if you aren’t a preschooler, because there’s more to ponder each time you page through the story.


Children at the picture-book stage have a tenuous grasp of time. Their abstract thought wires aren’t fully installed, so they understand time in terms of events. How many times will I go to bed and wake up before that happens? Will it be at breakfast time? Dinner time? Will it take as long as driving to Aunt Sally’s house? 

The Day I Ran Away plays with a preschooler’s time sense by running two chronologies simultaneously. The present bedtime conversation unfolds with words and pictures on the left page of each spread, and the past action from earlier in the day appears in pictures on the right. Without confusion, it puts the reader squarely into a multi-dimensional experience of time. But it’s done so naturally that little ones won’t notice that it’s happening.

Beginning at the End

The trustful connection between the little girl and her father is apparent from the first words of their conversation, but notice the illustration on the title page. It shows the little girl eating dinner with her mother, a meal that must have happened just before bedtime.  The title and cover tell us the little girl ran away, but we begin the story knowing she’s home safe now, and at peace with both parents. Like the cozy bedtime ritual, this early scene-setting creates a safe place from which to reflect on the emotions and reactions that created the chain of events. [As a parent, it’s interesting to see how the father’s calm acceptance of the story includes helping the little girl realize that her mother’s reactions were responses to her daughter’s choices.]

Beginning with the end is also an impressively subtle way of centering a little reader in the action but keeping the parents as the story’s frame. Preschoolers are the center of their own world, but parents are the first orbital ring. The book is structured the way a child’s world is structured – her all-absorbing consciousness of herself is lived inside parental creativity and guidance. This is her adventure, but it won’t have its full meaning for her until she’s told her father all about it before she falls asleep.

The Parents

The parents’ relationship is a strong message in the book, although they don’t appear together in a picture until the last page. Inside the father’s comments and questions to the little girl, you can hear his respect for the mother and his support of how she’s parenting their child. This is at least as powerful as his low-key, almost Socratic method of processing the day with his daughter.

For her part, the mother is letting this bedtime meeting happen without her input. She’s trusting the father and daughter to each other at the end of a long day, but the tone of the book tells you it’s not just because she’s tired. These two are parenting as a team, and their interactions with their daughter are thoughtfully chosen.

The Dog

In addition to his helpful contributions to the bedtime yoga routine, the dog is a wonderful buddy for his little friend. He mirrors or responds to her emotions in every picture. It’s adorable, but it’s also another talking point in the book. The dog’s facial expressions, posture, and actions are clues to the human emotions in each scene, while offering a friendly, four-legged suggestion of how to be there for someone you love, no matter what.

And Finally….

The Day I Ran Away is a proper picture book. It’s well-made, with a hard cover and thick, glossy pages. The colors are bright and attractive, the illustrations are full of life, and there are plenty of interesting details to point out and chat about as you practice paying attention and reading for meaning. The book is standard size, large enough to hold up and read to a circle of children, and just right for reading in the best sofa corner with at least two children on your lap.

The Day I Ran Away is available on Amazon in hardcover and Kindle editions. You can find Activity Guides to use along with the book here.

I received a copy of this book from Flashlight Press in exchange for this review.

Dear Komodo Dragon, by Nancy Kelly Allen

Lots of children have pen pals but one little girl has a real-life dragon—a Komodo dragon—for a pen pal! Leslie plans to be a dragon hunter when she grows up. When she and Komodo become pen pals, the wise-cracking dragon adds a generous helping of humor to letters that are chock full of accurate, interesting facts. Leslie learns not only about the world’s largest lizard, but also about the dangers they face. As their friendship builds, will Leslie change the way she thinks about dragons?

Do you remember that teacher we had in elementary school who was always trying to make learning fun? Yes, you remember. I thought you would. Sometimes, the fun was actually fun. Sometimes, not so much. Personally, I’d rather just plow through the math without also wishing I felt as entertained as that hopeful teacher hoped I would.

That’s why Dear Komodo Dragon surprised me! It’s definitely an educational book. You’ll find zoology, conservation, and math in its pages, and you could spin a lesson about letter-writing out of it, too. Arbordale provides substantial curricular support for their books. There’s a 30-page Teaching Activity Guide for Dear Komodo Dragon, perfect for classroom or homeschool use, and the book itself includes a 4-page For Creative Minds section as well.

But it’s still a story! Leslie and Komo, her dragon pen pal, both have relatable personalities, and their exchange is light-hearted and interesting (despite being informative!). You’ll realize how much you’ve been drawn into the story when you come to the plot twist just before the end! (No spoilers here!)

Laurie Allen Klein’s illustrations, like the text, are realistic but still imaginative, and provide depth to the characterizations and supporting detail for the information in the text. I especially appreciated the added dimension she provided in, for example, the labeled drawings of  various kinds of dragons displayed on pages 6-7. It’s evidence that every opportunity, every space and moment in the book, was used to add value for the reader.

I think my grade-school self would have welcomed this book with relief and interest. Dear Komodo Dragon is both fiction and nonfiction, a science story that deserves to be called both “science” and “story.” Bright pictures, clean text, engaging characters, and that plot twist I mentioned above all come together to make a good day in the classroom, or in your favorite reading nook at home.

Dear Komodo Dragon and its teaching resources are available directly from Arbordale Publishing, and also on Amazon in paperback, hard cover, and Kindle editions.

I was granted access by the publisher to a digital edition of this book in exchange for this review.