Ten Reasons why we love When a Dragon Meets a Baby...
...and why you will too
The blog tour for When a Dragon Meets a Baby starts today. We're delighted to be the first stop on a two-week celebration of one of the most adorable books ever published. Author Caryl Hart mentioned this story when we interviewed her back in January and we've been so excited about it ever since.
The two previous books in the collection, When a Dragon Goes to School and When a Dragon Comes to Stay, are fantastic. Just when I thought this series couldn't get any cuter, along comes a baby! As much as we love the other stories, this new one is definitely our favourite.
When a Dragon Meets a Baby is perfect for preparing an older sibling for the arrival of a new family member. I wish it had been around when I was expecting my second child - it's far more engaging than any of the stories I found at that time. Here are ten reasons why this book is so special...
1. It focuses on the older sibling and places them at the centre of the story Rather than telling readers about babies and what we might expect of them, this shows how a big sister or brother might behave instead. The baby doesn't get all the attention, which is a really clever and sensitive approach.
2. It shows how the older sibling can get involved in the baby’s routine and how they can help their mum and dad too
We see the important role a big sister or brother plays in ensuring everything runs smoothly when there's a new addition to a family. This demonstrates how older children can make life easier for their parents as well as the baby, and reinforces how valued they are. I love how involved the father dragon is in caring for the baby too.
3. It turns negatives into positives
When a Dragon Meets a Baby acknowledges that having a new family member can be challenging for an older child. It anticipates all the negative emotions and impulses that a sibling might have, and transforms them into positive feelings and actions.
4. It teaches children how to act in an infant-friendly way
Readers observe how gentle and considerate the older dragon is and can use their behaviour as a guide. As well as do's and don'ts, there are plenty of examples of how a sibling can bond with their baby sister or brother too.
5. It's all done very subtly
Although there are lots of lessons here, the story remains light-hearted and entertaining throughout. Children can learn so much without ever feeling they are being lectured. This makes the story's message more likely to make an impression.
6. It has a universal appeal
Even though the main protagonists are dragons, this features a domestic setting to which all children will relate. Little readers love seeing everyday items and scenes that they recognise. Despite being a wonderful book for families with another baby on the way, this story can be enjoyed by all children, at any time. Our household is definitely complete, but my girls (four and six) have requested this story every evening since it arrived.
7. It features diverse human characters
At a time when there is a lack of diversity in children's literature, it's brilliant that the dragon's human companions are of different ethnicities. This is something of which Nosy Crow seem to be particularly conscious. All the books we own by this publisher, including the others in this series, feature Black, Asian and minority ethnic main characters. Author Caryl Hart also tries to ensure that as many children as possible see themselves represented in her work.
8. It's beautifully written
This story rhymes throughout and there's lots of repetition, which not only appeals to children, but is essential for early brain development. I love the soothing, affectionate tone and the comforting, lyrical lines like, "yellow ducklings float around the baby's tiny feet." Caryl's wonderful way with words strengthens the story's emotional impact, and when paired with Rosalind Beardshaw's masterful artwork, creates an overwhelmingly moving effect.
9. It has gorgeous illustrations
Rosalind Beardshaw's illustrations are stunning, with a charming, retro quality, an attractive use of pattern, and a serene colour palette. It’s amazing how much love and tenderness is expressed on every page through the images alone. The moments when the dragon siblings are together, and the scenes showing the older dragon and her parents interacting, are remarkably touching without ever feeling syrupy.
The attention to detail in the dragon home makes the story feel even cosier and the world evoked more real. Several framed photos can be seen in the background, with some containing references previous titles in the series. The Scandinavian-style furniture and accessories, the rugs, the lamps and even the mugs are fabulous. I love the baby's polka-dot nappies, blankets, little woollen hat and squishy snuggle bug. The title page is so clever and sweet, showing the older sibling's stuffed dragon and the baby's snuggle bug together.
10. The baby dragon is just so cute!
Seriously - have you ever seen anything more adorable? I love how eager they look when gazing at their big sister - clearly idolising them already. As the baby in this story is so endearing, it might make little readers more inclined to appreciate how cute their own new sibling is too.
When a Dragon Meets a Baby is certain to become a definitive book for helping children adjust to a new sibling. It’s already one of the most lovable stories ever created.
As with all Nosy Crow picture books, this comes with a free "Stories Aloud" audio reading.
An enormous thank you to the lovely people in Nosy Crow for our review copy, which we will treasure, and for having us on the blog tour. A huge thanks also to Caryl Hart and Rosalind Beardshaw for allowing us to be a part of the launch for their spectacular book. Don't forget to visit all the stops on the blog tour to find out more about what happens when a dragon meets a baby: